Roundup: Election as sole democratic option to overcome crisis in Algeria: interim president

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ALGIERS, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Algerian interim President Abdelkader Bensalah on Sunday announced that the country will hold a presidential election on Dec. 12 this year, saying election is "the sole democratic option" that would enable the North African nation to overcome the crisis.

Bensalah addressed the Algerian people in a live speech broadcast on state-run television and radio channels, noting that he has signed a presidential decree to hold the election and called on the citizens to participate in the poll.

He said the presidential election is the only democratic solution to the crisis the country has been facing, reiterating his commitment to "meeting all the conditions necessary for a free, fair and transparent presidential election."

The interim president recalled "the most important steps" that have been taken earlier and paved the way for the election, including talks with several political parties, national personalities, as well as representatives of the civil society and the protest movement, which reached "consensual recommendations that would guarantee free and fair elections."

As a guarantee for the election, Bensalah said he has signed laws related to independent election monitoring authority and electoral system.

He concluded by urging all the Algerian people to engage in the election process in a bid to "make the poll of Dec. 12 a success, and ultimately overcome safely this crucial turning point in the history of Algeria."

Earlier on Sunday, former Justice Minister Mohamed Chorfi was elected head of the Independent Election Monitoring Authority.

The state-run ENT channel noted that the election of Chorfi took place during a meeting between the coordinator of the Dialogue and Mediation Panel, Karim Younes, and the 50 members of the monitoring authority.

The authority is due to organize the entire process of the presidential poll "to eliminate any attempt for rigging the election."

In fact, , suggested holding the Presidential Elections before the end of the year.

"Organizing presidential election as soon as possible is the most secured option for maintaining security and resolving the political crisis hitting this North African nation since Feb. 22, said Army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah.

He reiterated "a legitimately-elected president" would have enough popular support and endorsement to fulfill the people's aspirations.

Algeria has witnessed a wide scale protest movement since Feb. 22, forcing former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign on April 2.

The demonstrators have expressed their refusal to participate in any elections as long as symbols of the former government are still in place, in reference to interim President Bensalah and the cabinet led by Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.

For now, the Dialogue and Mediation Panel is trying to hold talks with different political actors and civil society activists to endorse the election process.

Some political parties expressed their will to participate in the election, while some others snubbed the call, as they insist on moving towards a transition era of at least six months led by a cabinet of technocrat ministers, within which a new constitution would be crafted and free and fair elections would be held. Enditem

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