Algerian presidential elections 'impossible' on 4 July

Algeria's constitutional council said on Sunday that it was impossible to hold elections to choose a successor to ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika early next month as planned, after the only two candidates were rejected.

"The constitutional council rejects the candidature applications" and as a result has announced "the impossibility of holding presidential elections on 4 July", according to a statement carried by national television.

It will now be up to interim president Abdelkader Bensalah to "again convene the electoral body and to finalise the electoral process" until a new leader is sworn in, the council said.

Bensalah, the former upper house speaker, was appointed on 9 April under constitutional rules which deem a presidential election must then be held within 90 days. But the planned vote has drawn widespread protest, with Algerian demonstrators demanding Bouteflika allies step aside to make way for a broader political overhaul before any elections are held.

The July vote had been backed by Algeria's army chief, General Ahmed Gaid Salah, a key powerbroker who supported Bouteflika until ultimately calling for the impeachment of the long-time leader, who stood down in April in the face of mass protests.    (AFP)