Algeria: Algerians skeptical election will bring change | chicagotribune.com

Algeria’s authorities say a parliamentary election on Thursday is a stepping stone towards a more democratic state, but many people do not believe their promises, expect only marginal change and will stay away from polling stations. The north African country is under pressure to come into line with neighboring states, where “Arab Spring” uprisings last year pushed out autocratic leaders and are bringing hopes of genuine democracy for the first time. The vote is likely, for the first time in Algeria’s history, to make Islamist parties the biggest bloc in the 462-seat national assembly, say diplomats and analysts. That will be in keeping with a trend in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere since the “Arab Spring.” However, there is little chance that will lead to radical change: the Islamists who are expected to dominate are moderate and loyal to the ruling establishment. Several of their leaders are already ministers in the government.

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