Algeria businessman uses namesake in election bid

ALGIERS (AFP) – When an Algerian businessman was ruled ineligible to stand in April’s presidential election, his cousin and namesake stepped forward to take his place.

In recent weeks Rachid Nekkaz has travelled around Algeria to gather the necessary 60,000 voter signatures to join the race for the presidency, before appearing on Sunday at the Constitutional Council to formally register as a candidate.

But despite renouncing his French citizenship, Nekkaz appears to have fallen foul of a law which bans candidates who have ever possessed a nationality other than Algerian.

Two hours after Nekkaz entered the Constitutional Council, another man left the building and introduced himself to the media as, “Rachid Nekkaz, candidate for the presidential (election).”

The well-known businessman was not seen leaving the building, according to an AFP photographer, but an official confirmed the man before the media really was known as Rachid Nekkaz.

“Under that name he presented himself to the Constitutional Council with his application,” the official said.

It was not until on Monday that the wealthy businessman announced his own candidacy had been rejected, prompting him to put forward his cousin who has the same name.