Algeria’s army chief warns against obstructing presidential election

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In this picture taken on June 27, 2012, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, left, and his Army chief of staff, Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah, attend a military parade in Cherchell near Algiers, Algeria. Algeria's powerful army chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah, insisted Wednesday that the military won't get mixed up in politics, a day after he said a constitutional process should be set in motion to declare ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika unfit for office. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

 

In this picture taken on June 27, 2012, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, left, and his Army chief of staff, Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah, attend a military parade in Cherchell near Algiers, Algeria. Algeria’s powerful army chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah, insisted Wednesday that the military won’t get mixed up in politics, a day after he said a constitutional process should be set in motion to declare ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika unfit for office. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

Algeria’s Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah warned on Tuesday against attempts to disrupt the presidential election on Dec. 12, the Algerian Defense Ministry said.

Salah warned of “attempts of some gangs and collaborators to obstruct the electoral process through spreading false propaganda,” the ministry said in a statement.

Salah made the remarks during a visit to the third military zone in the province of Bechar on Tuesday.

He said the presidential election is the only way to get Algeria out the crisis, asserting the army will “guarantee a free and transparent presidential election.”

He called on Algerians to “mobilize intensively to make this election a starting point to renew the institutions of the country and work together to make the election a success.”

Algeria’s interim President Abdelkader Bensalah announced on Sept. 15 that the presidential election was set for Dec. 12.

Despite assurances, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in major cities on Sept. 20.

Algeria has been gripped by mass protests since Feb. 22, which forced former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign on April 2.

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