Opposition Claims Fraud in Algerian Elections
The party of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika strengthened its presence in the government after yesterday’s parliamentary elections. The National Liberation Front (FLN) won 220 out of the 462 seats in the national assembly. The second party of the ruling coalition, the National Rally for Democracy (RND) of Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, a party close to the military, won 68 seats. Whereas the Green Allliance, a three-party Islamist alliance, garnered 48 seats.
This Assembly will be in charge or reforming the current Constitution. As a result of the elections, the FLN and the RND control 62% of the seats, in contrast to previous elections where Islamists parties garnered much of the votes. During a press conference, Interior Minister Ould Kablia stated, ”The election has reinforced the Algerian people’s attachment to the values of peace and stability.” However, Riccard Fabiani, North Africa analyst with Eurasia Group, said the outcome of the election will increase the level of discontent with the ruling elite, which “will continue to pose significant risks to stability.”
The Islamist parties claimed the elections were fraudulent. “Of course there was fraud,” said Abderrazzak Mukri, campaign manager of the Green Alliance. EU observers called the elections “a step toward reform.” One observer, Jose Ignacio Salafranca, said that there were few irregularities in the voting process. However, the results are sharply contrast with analysts predictions and the experience of Tunisia’s neighbors. The voter turnout figures announce by Kablia, 42%, is inconsistent with many reports of abstention. Algerian political analyst Lahouari Addi called the election results “impossible” and estimated turnout figures closer to 20%. Former member of the Hamas party Aboudjerra Soltani said that electoral fraud would simply, “delay the Algerian spring.” The opposition has delivered (French) a report accusing the interior ministry of fraud. Larbi Sadiki called the elections, “elections without democracy.”