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Who are Algeria's presidential candidates?

All five candidates contesting Thursday's election are associates of deposed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Algerian presidential candidates, from left: former culture minister Azzedine Mihoubi, former prime minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune, former tourism minister Abdelkader Bengrine, former prime minister Ali Benflis and head of the Mostakbal Movement party Abdelaziz Belaid (AFP)

Algeria is set to hold a contentious presidential election on Thursday that will see five associates of deposed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the running for the top job.

Earlier this year, Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria's independence struggle, resigned after months of protests against his two-decade rule.

Since his resignation in April, the oil-rich country has been dogged by near daily protests with demonstrators demanding wide-scale political reform before any vote.

Gaid Salah, a powerful military chief, has said the people's key demands have been met, but on the even of the presidential election, thousands gathered to protest in the capital Algiers.

With the electoral commission approving only five of 23 possible candidates, here's a quick run-through of who they are:

1. Abdelmadjid Tebboune

Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Abdelmadjid Tebboune (AFP)

The shortest-serving prime minister in Algerian history, Tebboune served from May to August 2017, when he was fired by Bouteflika for attacking oligarchs linked to his now-jailed brother, Said Bouteflika.

Tebboune, 74, is still campaigning against powerful business figures accused of corruption.

2. Ali Benflis

Ali Benflis
Ali Benflis (AFP)

Benflis, 75, served as prime minister from 2000 to 2003 and ran unsuccessfully for president twice against Bouteflika.

After serving as prime minister, he was chosen as the general secretary of the country's ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) party.

In his 2019 presidential bid, Benflis promises to uphold the demands of the revolution and to break away from the "former regime".

The former prime minister also wants to begin consultations across the country to create an "open government".

During a presidential election debate last week, Benflis said he sought the presidency “knowing that all conditions are not met. But if I am elected, my top priority would be to engage in a dialogue with the opponents of the presidential election.”

3. Azzeddine Mihoubi

Azzedine Mihoubi
Azzedine Mihoubi (AFP)

Azzeddine Mihoubi, 60, is a former journalist and minister of culture. The leader of the National Democratic Rally party, Mihoubi is also backed by Algeria's longstanding ruling party, FLN, his party's ally in government.

Mihoubi also served as the chief executive of the state-owned radio station and as a senior official at the Algerian Television. 

4. Abdelkader Begrine

Abdelkader Begrine
Abdelkader Begrine (AFP)

Abdelkader Begrine, 57, has previously served as tourism minister and MP of Algiers, representing the moderate Islamist El Bina party.

Bengrine was a member of the moderate Islamist party, the Movement for a Society of Peace (MSP), before starting his own small party, El Bina, which like the MSP, had supported Bouteflika.

5. Abdelaziz Belaid

Abdelaziz Belaid
Abdelaziz Belaid (AFP)

Abdelaziz Belaid, 56, is a former FLN central committee member. He later set up the El Mostakbal Movement party and was defeated by Bouteflika in the 2014 presidential election.