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Algerian Islamists to boycott presidential election


Algiers (AFP) - Algeria's main Islamist party, the Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP), on Saturday announced a boycott of the presidential election due to be held April 17.

Party chief Abderrazak Mokri made the announcement to journalists following two days of debate within the MSP.

He said the party was boycotting the election because of "the lack of real opportunity for political reform, the monopoly of those currently in power over the election and the fact that political demands for transparency are ignored."

Mokri said the authorities are seeking to "trump the will of the people to freely choose who governs."

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 76, has ruled for 14 years, and has still not officially declared that he will seek a fourth mandate.

Despite his ailing health, the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) in November named Bouteflika as its candidate.

The MSP, which was allied to the president until early 2012, said in December Algeria was "heading for disaster" if Bouteflika wins a fourth term.

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