Algerian regime tightens grip despite Arab Spring

Algeria's ruling party tightened its grip on power in an election that bucked the regional trend of Islamists gaining strength since the Arab Spring, according to results Friday that drew accusations of fraud.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's National Liberation Front (FLN) won 220 out of 462 seats up for grabs in Thursday's election, improving on its share in the outgoing national assembly.

The seven Islamist parties contesting the polls could only manage a combined 59 seats, a major setback after predicting victory during the campaign, according to a copy of the official results obtained by AFP.

The National Rally for Democracy (RND) of Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, a nationalist party close to the military and loyal to Bouteflika, was second with 68 seats, compared to 62 in the outgoing house.

While the results largely maintain the status quo, one notable change was the number of elected women, which rose to 145 from seven in the outgoing assembly following the introduction of quotas.

Algeria's governing coalition so far included the FLN, the RND and the largest of the legal Islamist parties, the Movement of Society for Peace.

Friday's provisional results, which have yet to be confirmed by the constitutional council, mean the FLN and the RND could form a majority without the Islamists.

Green Algeria, a three-party Islamist alliance, garnered a paltry 48 seats and charged widespread fraud.

"There has been large-scale manipulation of the real results announced in the regions, an irrational exaggeration of these results to favour the administration parties," it said in a statement.

The Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) -- the main party in the alliance -- marvelled that it did not obtain a single seat in the constituency of Blida, an Islamist bastion where the party was created.

"It exposes the people to dangers for which we do not want to take responsibility... We will take the necessary measures and will put the blame squarely on the the president of the republic," Green Algeria said.

In the wake of the popular revolts that became known as the Arab Spring, moderate Islamist parties recorded electoral victories in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.

Turnout had been expected to be low after a campaign that produced no new faces and failed to draw crowds.

But Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia announced a "remarkable" rate of 42.36 percent which he said confirmed Algeria's democratic credentials.

Pro-government newspapers said voters had expressed confidence in the political system by taking part in the election, which comes after a reform package initiated in the wake of the Arab Spring.

"If there's a winner on this Algerian spring day, it's undoubtedly the people," El Moudjahid wrote in a front-page editorial.

The governing coalition and many Algerians argue that the country has already experienced the consequences of Islamism during the deadly 1991-2002 civil war and that the dynamics of the Arab Spring cannot apply in Algeria.

Ouyahia also argued that the Arab Spring was hardly an attractive scenario, calling it a "plague" that had resulted in "the colonisation of Iraq, the destruction of Libya, the partition of Sudan and the weakening of Egypt."

Many Algerians and observers had predicted that ever deeper mistrust, especially among the country's majority of young people, could lead to an even worse turnout than the historical low of 35 percent recorded in 2007.

The opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy, which chose to boycott this election, claimed the announced turnout was fraudulent.

"The turnout as recorded by the local commissions, infiltrated by the administration though they may be, did not exceed 18 percent," the party's chairman said at a press conference.

Some 500 foreign observers brought in by Bouteflika to monitor the vote reported only minor hiccups but they were denied access to the national electoral roll, which grew by four million voters since 2007.

Former colonial power France said it was pleased polling operations were smooth.

Bouteflika was a minister in Algeria's first independent government in 1962 and, at 75, he is keen to burnish his legacy with large-scale projects such as the world's third largest mosque.

Analysts say the legislative election was acting as a kind of primary for the 2014 presidential poll, which Bouteflika is not expected to contest.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects
    Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects

    The Philippines and Japan have signed agreements for six official development assistance (ODA) projects amounting to 22.289 billion yen or around P9.6 billion. …

  • Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms
    Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms

    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them. National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration …

  • Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP
    Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP

    Contrary to what romance novel writers would want their readers to believe, there are no perfect marriages in the real world. This was according to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In a statement titled “CBCP Position Against the Divorce Bill and Against the Decriminalization of Adultery and Concubinage,” Villegas said that while it is not easy to make relationships last, learning how to work out differences – and …

  • DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa
    DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa

    The defense department is holding off repairs and other planned infrastructure projects on Pag-Asa Island, one of seven islets and two reefs occupied by Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands. Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario pointed out that the maintenance and repair of facilities in Pag-Asa Island are not covered by the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of parties involved in the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes. “Repair and maintenance is okay but before …

  • Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns
    Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns

    An 11-hour power outage will hit five towns in Aurora on Tuesday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced yesterday. The NGCP said Baler, Dingalan, San Luis, Ma. Aurora and Dipaculao would be affected by the blackout. The NGCP said parts of Nueva Ecija and Aurora were hit by a power interruption yesterday due to the tripping of the Cabanatuan-Baler 69kV line. …

  • Rules set for climate change programs
    Rules set for climate change programs

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) have released the revised guidelines to track and monitor climate change adaptation programs of the government. “The government of the Philippines has demonstrated leadership and strong commitment in implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to respond to climate change,” read the joint memorandum circular published in The STAR yesterday. “With the goal of using the budget process to plan, prioritize and …

  • It’s time to move on– Speaker
    It’s time to move on– Speaker

    The nation can now move on as President Aquino has satisfactorily explained his side on the Mamasapano incident for which he even begged for understanding, lawmakers led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. “It’s time to move on,” Belmonte said in reaction to Aquino’s pronouncements made before new police graduates at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) last Thursday. The President has spoken far too much about what he knows and about his limited involvement in the …

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options