Presidential hopefuls kick off 3 week campaign season in Algeria promising change

The candidates for Algeria's presidential election have begun the three-week campaign season, with the front-runners both promising to amend the constitution.

The incumbent, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is widely expected to win in this oil-rich nation, will mostly likely sit the campaign out due to the lingering effects of stroke last year. He has directed a number of deputies to campaign on his behalf.

In a speech near the border with Mali on Sunday, his campaign manager Abdelmalek Sellal reiterated a promise by the president to reform the constitution and create a "democratic modern state." The president has been promising to amend the constitution since 2011.

His chief rival, former prime minister Ali Benflis, also promised a new constitution, one in which parliament would have real power.