A string of white pearls around her neck, her hair tied in a bun, Louisa Hanoune, the only woman running for Algeria’s presidency, holds out her palms and declares: “I have clean hands”. The remark triggers an outburst of celebratory ululations and chants of “Louisa! Louisa!” among supporters of the 60-year-old leftist candidate, who is widely popular in Algeria, even among conservatives hostile to feminism. “I have clean hands,” she declares in a husky voice. “I have not held back, I have not sold off any businesses, I have not oppressed women.” She was speaking at a gathering in Kolea, about 40 km west of Algiers, where many women were among the roughly 300 supporters of the head of the Worker’s Party, who has been a member of parliament since 1997.