Most of the candidates have criticized the state media and the Bouteflika campaign for monopolizing ad space and for using intimidation to muscle out the other candidates’ messages. El Khabar reported on elements of the Bouteflika campaign using blackmail to pressure local officials and businesspeople into backing the campaign infrastructure (you could call it Bouteflintimidation), and today Djahid Younsi (El-Islah) criticized television bias and Mohamed Said called on PM Ahmed Ouyahia specifically for violating campaign laws by publicly endorsing Bouteflika and asking voters to support him. Le Soir notes Said’s early criticism and Louisa Hanoune’s paucity: The PT candidate generally refrains from mentioning Bouteflika (or others) by name, even if she criticizes the ruling establishment in general she evades direct attacks on the president. This is related to concerns that Hanoune is acting as a proxy of the regime, legitimizing the contest by providing court opposition. Mousa Touati (FNA), when asked where Bouteflika’s piles of cash came from, responded “tax evasion and bribery“. Fawzi Rebiane (Ahd 54) also accused the Bouteflika campaign of “abusing state resources,” with talk of withdrawal coming up in the face of perceived and real bias. Television broadcasts imagery of Bouteflika, with minimal attention paid to others. State print media extols Bouteflika’s accomplishments, and seldom mentions the other candidates. Posters of Bouteflika with his trademark dove adorn building facades, walls, windows and light posts in major cities.
Rushing to the regime’s defense, the Interior Minister and longtime Boutefista, Yazid Zerhouni, has said that the candidates are “operating in an atmosphere of freedom of expression” and said he regretted that all but Bouteflika have complained that they are “just getting by” in terms of funding. (The state allocates some funds for campaigns and sets the price for ad space on television and other public fora.) The always callus Zerhouni may have done better to have simply said, “tough luck.”