Algerian Elections Praised,145 Women Elected
The coalition of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika emerged victorious in last week’s parliament elections. The elections resulted (French) in the nomination of 145 women to Parliament that hosts 462 representative, increasing their representation from 7% to 31%.
The U.S. and the European Union praised Algeria for holding elections and observed them as an important step toward reform. U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton ”congratulated” Algerians and stated ”The Government of Algeria invited international and non-governmental organizations to send observation missions and conducted elections that provided the Algerian people with the opportunity to express their will.” Hanafi Wajih, the head of the Arab League’s observer mission, said ”The election was free and transparent and the Algerian people have expressed their choice without coercion.”
It has been suggested (French) that Algeria may be a possible exception in North Africa where many of its neighbors witnessed revolution. Al Jazeera’s Inside story, asked if “Algeria is immune to the Arab Spring?” Fatigue from more than a decade of violent civil war, close relations with Europe, and the understanding that stability is necssary to improve economic partnership with EU may have prevented Algeria from massive unrest. However, Mohamed Libra Zito, former Algerian diplomat, asserts that there was a potential for youth-led revolt. Youssef Bouandel, Professor of International Affairs, believes that changes in Algeria will follow a top bottom process and will not result from popular protest.