A French-Algerian businessman nicknamed "Zorro of the niqab" for his support of French Muslim women fined for covering their faces in public has renounced French nationality to stand for the Algerian presidency.

Rachid Nekkaz, a self-made millionaire, hopes to replace the country's longest-serving president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in elections next April.

Mr Bouteflika, 76, a veteran of the war of independence that brought Algeria freedom from France in 1962, is in failing health.

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