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Algeria: No surprises as ailing leader’s party wins


Poor voter turnout confirms disenchantment with system

Algeria Bouteflika

By Anthony Opara


There have been no surprises in the outcome of Thursday’s parliamentary polls in Algeria with the party linked to ailing President Bouteflika coming tops.

At the close of voting, the ruling National Liberation Front (FNL) and its coalition ally have reportedly won a majority of the seats that were contested in the North African nation’s parliamentary elections.

Significantly however, the process was marked by a low turnout.

According to data released by the Interior Ministry, only about 38 percent of the 20 million that were eligible to vote actually cast ballots.

While there are differnet reasons for this expression of apathy, analysts say that bribery scandals during the campaign, the parlous state of the national economy and a long-running distrust of both politicians and a political order that is anything but transparent in the real sense of the word are prime factors.

Announcig the results, Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui revealed that the ruling National Liberation Front, FLN, which is President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s party, won 164 of the 462 seats in the lower house of parliament.

Former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia’s Rassemblement National Democratique — FLN’s coalition ally — finished second with 97 seats, while the Islamist party, Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP), which had joined forces with the Front for Change, secured only 33 seats.

Ailing President Bouteflika has governed the country for two decades and even at 80, there are yet no plans for a successor in a nation where the military is openly acknowledged as the real power behind the throne.



President Bouteflika of Algeria


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