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» 11.03.2011 - Algeria protests risk losing momentum
» 17.02.2011 - Students keep Algeria protests warm
» 15.02.2011 - Call for massive renewed protests in Algeria
» 14.02.2011 - Algeria govt seeks to avoid mass protests
» 12.02.2011 - Saharawis at unease over Algeria, Morocco unrest
» 08.02.2011 - Large student protests in Algeria
» 03.02.2011 - "Algeria soon to lift state of emergency"
» 03.02.2011 - Algeria prepares protests despite govt threats

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Algeria will not object to foreign observers, Minister

afrol News, 19 December - The Algerian government has said it will not bar foreign observer missions to monitor next presidential elections if requested by majority of the political parties, Minister of State, Interior Affairs and Local Authorities Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said.

Algeria is currently preparing for 2009 general elections, and Mr Zerhouni said the government would approve foreign observation, though he questioned the request saying it is insulting for a country that upholds rule of law and democracy.

State news agency, Algerie Press Service, quoted Mr Zerhouni saying: "If party officials insist on the presence of foreign observers, I will have no objection if there would be a credible request with a significant number of people asking for it."

Algerian parliament has recently abolished presidential terms paving way for president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a third term in the 2009 general elections.

However, opposition politicians have rallied against making changes to the constitution, saying that presidential office already has broad control of the courts and legislature.

Critics have condemned the reform saying it was a step away from democracy and favoured political and military elite that have long held power in this oil- and gas-rich North African country.

Supporters of Mr Bouteflika however say he is best placed to continue to rebuild Algeria, which suffered a civil war in the 1990s that claimed more than 150,000 lives.

The 71-year-old president, a veteran of Algerian politics, was first elected in 1999. Mr Bouteflika has overseen a return to relative peace, though there has been a series of suicide bombings over the last two years blamed on militants linked to al-Qaeda.

Algeria is currently rebuilding its economy after a decade of conflict that began in 1992 when military backed government scrapped elections, a radical Islamic party was poised to win the elections.

Bloodshed has subsided in recent years, and in 2006 government freed more than 2 000 former Islamist guerrillas under an amnesty designed to put an end to conflict.

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