Polls open in Algeria presidential election

AFP , Thursday 17 Apr 2014

A supporter of Algerian president and presidential candidate Abdelaziz Bouteflika holds a flower as he attends the last election campaign rally in Algiers (Photo: Reuters)

The polls opened in Algeria's presidential election on Thursday with the incumbent Abdelaziz Bouteflika seeking a fourth term despite his chronic health problems.

More than 260,000 police have been deployed to protect the 50,000 polling booths set up across Africa's largest country, where 23 million Algerians are eligible to vote in a contest between six candidates after polling opened at 8:00 am (0700 GMT).

The 77-year-old president, who rose to power in 1999, is the firm favourite. But with warnings of electoral fraud and opposition calls for a boycott, the focus will be on turnout before polling stations close at 1800 GMT.

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