ALGIERS, Algeria – Algeria's Constitutional Court has approved six candidates for the April 17 presidential election, including the 77-year-old incumbent who suffered a stroke last year.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is backed by the power of the state and will likely dominate the other five candidates, even though he now has trouble speaking and walking.
Six other would-be candidates were eliminated for not collecting the necessary numbers of signatures.
The most prominent of those approved Thursday include Trotskyite Louisa Hanoun and Ali Benflis, a former prime minister.
The presidency also announced that Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal would temporarily leave his duties to run the president's campaign.
There have been scattered protests over Bouteflika's competing for a fourth term, including one at Algiers University on Thursday. They have been swiftly crushed by security.