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World - Africa

6 of 7 Algerian presidential candidates withdraw

bouteflika
Bouteflika is the only candidate remaining in Algeria's presidential election scheduled for Thursday

 ALSO
Algerian election facts

 

April 14, 1999
Web posted at: 1:17 p.m. EDT (1717 GMT)

ALGIERS, Algeria (CNN) -- Citing fraud, six candidates in Algeria's presidential elections said Wednesday they had withdrawn from the race -- just a day before the vote was to take place.

"We have decided to collectively withdraw from the presidential elections and will not recognize the legitimacy of its outcome," the six said in a statement after outgoing President Liamine Zeroual refused to meet with them to discuss their complaints.

Only Abdelaziz Bouteflika -- widely believed to have the support of Algeria's military -- remains in the race.

The six former candidates said the election has been rigged in favor of Bouteflika with early voting by police, soldiers and firefighters. The group wanted those votes declared void.

The group members said they would remove their poll monitors from voting places and would "pursue the mobilization of the movement of the citizens, to impose the respect of their right to decide and choose freely."

For the past seven years, Algeria has been torn by a violent Islamic rebellion that has left some 75,000 people dead. Wednesday's election was to give the country its first civilian president.

Reuters contributed to this report.


RELATED SITES:
Algeria
ArabNet -- Algeria
Algerian Mission to the UN
Embassy of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria
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