Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Algerian poll contenders unveiled

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (L) shakes hand with Constitution Council President Boualem Bessayeh (R), in Algiers on 23 February 2009
Mr Bouteflika (L) has promised a transparent election

Algeria's highest court has announced six candidates, including President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, will stand in next month's presidential elections.

The other contenders approved by the Constitutional Council are one woman, two Islamists and two nationalists.

Most Algerian opposition parties are boycotting the election, claiming it is being rigged for Mr Bouteflika.

The 72-year-old is allowed to run again after parliament in November removed the two-term limit.

Mr Bouteflika has promised a transparent election and authorities said they would invite international observers to monitor the vote.

First elected in 1999, Mr Bouteflika is running at the helm of a pro-presidential coalition in parliament.

Constitutional Council leader Boualem Bessayeh told national TV only six of 13 candidates registered for the 9 April poll had fulfilled the requirements to run.

Veteran left-winger Louisa Hanoune is the only woman in the race.

The two Islamist politicians are moderate Mohammed Said and hardliner Djahid Younsie.

Nationalists Moussa Touati and Fawzi Rebaine are also in the running.

Under the North Africa country's law, approved candidates must collect 75,000 signatures, be a proven Muslim, born an Algerian and married to one.

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