Abdelaziz Bouteflika

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Burundi: Votes counted in Burundi as Nkurunzia party eyes controversial win, and 10,000 flee country over the weekend | AFP

Burundi election officials finished vote-counting on Tuesday, a day after internationally condemned polls boycotted by the opposition, with the ruling party expected to win a sweeping victory. “The counting is completed in all the polling stations throughout Burundi,” election commission spokesman Prosper Ntahorwamiye told AFP, with those votes now being collated and taken to larger centres for final tallies before results can be announced. Voting on Monday was marked by grenade attacks, with the election commission claiming an “enormous” turnout despite many polling stations remaining quiet.

Full Article: Votes counted in Burundi as Nkurunzia party eyes controversial win, and 10,000 flee country over the weekend | Mail & Guardian Africa.

Algeria: Bouteflika camp claims election win, rival alleges fraud | Reuters

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looked set to win a fourth term with allies claiming victory in an election on Thursday, despite questions over his health and his rare appearances since suffering a stroke in 2013. Official results were due on Friday, but Bouteflika’s camp claimed the independence veteran backed by the dominant National Liberation Front (FLN) party had succeeded in securing five more years at the helm of the North African OPEC state. The 77-year-old Bouteflika, who has appeared in public only a few times since his stroke, earlier voted in Algiers while sitting in a wheelchair. He gave no statement and only briefly shook hands with supporters before leaving.

Full Article: Algeria's Bouteflika camp claims election win, rival alleges fraud | Reuters.

Editorials: Algeria votes – but for what? | Los Angeles Times

Though the votes have not yet been counted in Thursday’s presidential election in Algeria, the result is all but decided: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will win a fourth term. Bouteflika’s long reign is unprecedented (and unconstitutional), and so is the nature of the election. The ailing and frail 77-year-old Bouteflika had not made a single public or televised campaign appearance until this month’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, in which Bouteflika looked more dead than alive. Indeed, one critic, novelist Yasmina Khadra, calls Bouteflika’s government a “zombie regime.” The president — a functionary of the National Liberation Front, the party that has owned Algeria since its independence in 1962 — is entrenched, propped up by generals and an uneasy status quo. The question is, how long will the government manage to impose scripted elections on a population ready for the risks and rewards of an unscripted future?

Full Article: Algeria votes -- but for what? - latimes.com.

Algeria: Benflis vows to monitor Algeria vote, protest any fraud | Al Arabiya

Presidential hopeful Ali Benflis said Tuesday that thousands of his supporters would monitor Algeria’s election, vowing to protest if it is rigged in favour of ailing incumbent Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is seeking re-election. Benflis is seen as the president’s main rival, and has repeatedly warned of fraud during the election campaign, describing it as his “main adversary” in Thursday’s vote. Speaking to reporters in Algiers, he said he had an “army” of people in place to monitor the poll “consisting of 60,000 people, most of them young men and women armed to the teeth with conviction. If the election is rigged, I will not keep quiet,” Benflis said.

Full Article: Benflis vows to monitor Algeria vote, protest any fraud - Al Arabiya News.

Algeria: Opposition cries fraud in Algerian election | Associated Press

The main opposition candidate in Algeria’s presidential elections cried foul late Thursday night hours after voting ended, alleging massive fraud and vowing to reject any results announced. Ali Benflis told supporters at his headquarters that preliminary information indicated fraud on a grand scale with grave irregularities across the country. “Our history will remember this date as a great crime against the nation by stealing the voice of the citizens and blocking popular will,” he said, while fireworks from celebrating supporters of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, his opponent, could be heard in the background. The national commission charged with supervising the elections, however, insisted that aside from a few incidents, the election went smoothly with just 130 complaints. Turnout was 51.7 percent of the 23 million registered voters, according to the Interior Minister.

Full Article: Opposition cries fraud in Algerian election - Fairfield Citizen.

Algeria: Discontent Swells as President of Algeria Seeks a Fourth Term | New York Times

With a presidential election on Thursday, most Algerians see a fourth term for the incumbent, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, as a foregone conclusion. Mr. Bouteflika has already been in power 15 years. In the last election in 2009, he was returned to office with an improbable 90 percent of the vote. So tightly controlled is this North African country that, virtually alone in the region, it passed on the Arab Spring. Yet even as the re-election of Mr. Bouteflika, 77, appears inevitable, his insistence on running again, despite his apparent frail health, has increased popular exasperation, revealed unusual signs of division within the ruling elite and provoked an unlikely show of solidarity among opposition parties, both secular and Islamic, which have united in a call to boycott the election. Exceptionally, a nascent urban middle-class youth movement, Barakat! (“Enough!” in Arabic), styled along the lines of the protests organized through social media during the Arab Spring, has begun campaigning against another term for Mr. Bouteflika. In recent weeks, it broke a taboo by holding small political protests here on the streets of the capital.

Full Article: Discontent Swells as President of Algeria Seeks a Fourth Term - NYTimes.com.

Algeria: Violence mars Algeria campaign | Magharebia

Several acts of violence marred Algeria’s presidential election campaign over the last week, as voters prepare to head to the polls April 17th. In Bouira, a representative of Ali Benflis, a serious rival to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was prevented from holding a public meeting at a cinema on Tuesday (April 8th) by a group of campaigners. That followed an incident last Saturday, when protesters in Bejaia raided a community arts centre that was supposed to host a meeting led by Abdelmalek Sellal, who was forced to call off the event. Damage to the building was estimated at 100 million dinars, according to APS. Despite the condemnations that followed the acts of violence in Bejaia, where journalists from the private TV channel Ennahar and law enforcement officers were injured, young people ran into the street in Metlili, Ghardaia at the end of a Wednesday meeting staged by Sellal. Scuffles between youths and law enforcement officers ensued. The young demonstrators accused Sellal of failing to keep promises to improve living standards that he made while serving as prime minister.

Full Article: Violence mars Algeria campaign | Magharebia.

Algeria: After improved turnout, Algeria awaits election results | DW.DE

Results of parliamentary elections in Algeria are expected Friday afternoon, after authorities announced better-than-expected turnout in the ballot. Still, fewer than half the potential voters made their voices heard. The government in Algiers reported relatively high turnout in parliamentary elections late on Thursday, a surprise after a campaign that appeared to be marred by voter mistrust and disinterest. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had billed the ballot as a piecemeal version of the rapid changes taking place in several regional neighbors, referring to it as an “Algerian Spring.” Election observers brought in by Bouteflika reported only minor negative incidents on voting day, while the government was able to announce greater voter interest than initially expected.

Full Article: Algeria awaits election results after improved turnout | News | DW.DE | 11.05.2012.

Algeria: After improved turnout, Algeria awaits election results | DW.DE

Results of parliamentary elections in Algeria are expected Friday afternoon, after authorities announced better-than-expected turnout in the ballot. Still, fewer than half the potential voters made their voices heard. The government in Algiers reported relatively high turnout in parliamentary elections late on Thursday, a surprise after a campaign that appeared to be marred by voter mistrust and disinterest. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had billed the ballot as a piecemeal version of the rapid changes taking place in several regional neighbors, referring to it as an “Algerian Spring.” Election observers brought in by Bouteflika reported only minor negative incidents on voting day, while the government was able to announce greater voter interest than initially expected.

Full Article: Algeria awaits election results after improved turnout | News | DW.DE | 11.05.2012.

Algeria: Elections being called fairest in 2 decades, but little enthusiasm from voters | The Washington Post

As parliamentary elections unfolded across Algeria on Thursday, voting was light for much of day in the capital, despite these contests being billed the freest in 20 years. A coalition of Islamist parties is hoping to replicate the election successes of other Islamists across North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings of 2011, but they face stiff competition from two government parties with deeply entrenched networks. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika spent the past several months urging Algerians to come out and vote, alternating promises of bold new reforms after elections with warnings that foreign powers might invade Algeria if there is a low turnout. No party is expected to dominate the parliament, though the real question will be if there is a substantial turnout. Just hours before the polls closed, the government put the participation rate at 35 percent, suggesting it will be more than in 2007, but not by much.

Full Article: Algerian elections being called fairest in 2 decades, but little enthusiasm from voters - The Washington Post.

Algeria: Elections being called fairest in 2 decades, but little enthusiasm from voters | The Washington Post

As parliamentary elections unfolded across Algeria on Thursday, voting was light for much of day in the capital, despite these contests being billed the freest in 20 years. A coalition of Islamist parties is hoping to replicate the election successes of other Islamists across North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings of 2011, but they face stiff competition from two government parties with deeply entrenched networks. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika spent the past several months urging Algerians to come out and vote, alternating promises of bold new reforms after elections with warnings that foreign powers might invade Algeria if there is a low turnout. No party is expected to dominate the parliament, though the real question will be if there is a substantial turnout. Just hours before the polls closed, the government put the participation rate at 35 percent, suggesting it will be more than in 2007, but not by much.

Full Article: Algerian elections being called fairest in 2 decades, but little enthusiasm from voters - The Washington Post.

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.

Full Article: Algerians skeptical election will bring change - chicagotribune.com.

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.

Full Article: Algerians skeptical election will bring change - chicagotribune.com.

Editorials: Algeria’s election: Still waiting for real democracy | The Economist

Parties competing in Algeria’s general election on May 10th faced a weary cynicism among voters. So far the Arab spring has passed the country by. Still recovering from the grim legacy of a civil war of the 1990s, in which at least 100,000 Algerians are thought to have died, few people seem tempted to take the revolutionary road. But nor do many see much of a way forward using the ballot box, at least not in the form being presented by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Since a general election in 1992 was interrupted by the army to prevent a win by the Islamic Salvation Front, Algeria’s powers-that-be have not left national elections to chance. Mr Bouteflika came to power in 1999 after six leading candidates had withdrawn from the contest in protest against alleged fraud. With a nod to demands for democracy elsewhere in the region, this time the authorities let in more than 450 foreign election observers, including, for the first time, 140 from the EU. They do not seem to be making much of a difference. In any case, few commentators predicted that as many as the 35% who turned out last time would bother to vote. Yet 21 new parties had been approved since February. The authorities’ preferred outcome is said to be a parliament made up of a “mosaic” of parties, with no strong block having a dominant voice. A handful of genuine opposition parties, including the old Socialist Forces Front (FFS in French) and the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Front (FJD), evidently believed it worth striving to limit the scope for fraud. So they highlighted the dearth of their party representatives at polling stations and secured, as a last-minute concession, the interior ministry’s agreement to put party representatives on the commissions that supervised vote-counts at governorate level.

Full Article: Algeria’s election: Still waiting for real democracy | The Economist.

Algeria: Tentative steps to the promised land | Africa Review

Algeria’s closely-watched May 10th parliamentary election will help clarify the political currents popular enough to sufficiently move the north African country towards a new era in its agitated history. They are also perceived as a rehearsal for the country’s presidential election where the stakes will be much greater. In Algeria, the President holds a far more prominent role than many other state institution. The elections have come at a time of great regional uncertainty and instability following the Arab Spring that swept away regimes in neighbouring Tunisia and in Egypt. In what is certainly an effort to safeguard the country from similar disorder, 75-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s announced democratic reforms and the holding of anticipated parliamentary elections as part of an overall transition process. These reforms were welcomed by the international community as a step in the right direction.

Full Article: Africa Review - Algeria: Tentative steps to the promised land.

Algeria: Tentative steps to the promised land | Africa Review

Algeria’s closely-watched May 10th parliamentary election will help clarify the political currents popular enough to sufficiently move the north African country towards a new era in its agitated history. They are also perceived as a rehearsal for the country’s presidential election where the stakes will be much greater. In Algeria, the President holds a far more prominent role than many other state institution. The elections have come at a time of great regional uncertainty and instability following the Arab Spring that swept away regimes in neighbouring Tunisia and in Egypt. In what is certainly an effort to safeguard the country from similar disorder, 75-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s announced democratic reforms and the holding of anticipated parliamentary elections as part of an overall transition process. These reforms were welcomed by the international community as a step in the right direction.

Full Article: Africa Review - Algeria: Tentative steps to the promised land.

Algeria: Islamist Parties in pole position in Algerian parliamentary elections | Newstime Africa

More than 30 political parties and around 100 independent lists with a total of more than 10,000 candidates will compete for the 462 seats in the National People’s Assembly. As the Algerian Parliament that comes out of next legislative elections in May 10 will have 73 additional seats, passing from today’s 389 to 462, what is new in the Algerian political landscape ,it is considered to be a harbinger to constituent assembly demanded by opposition parties. The Algerian government which explains the increasing in number of Parliament’s seats by the will to reinforce women’s presence in parliament is far of being credible among the civil society for its way of ruling the country. This may lead to the possibility of Islamist election victory as was the case in 1991. Concern among some politicians and political experts over the capacity of Islamists to grab the majority of seats in the next assembly are currently mounting in Algeria that could seemingly be contaminated by the Tunisian and Egyptian syndrome. Following in  the footsteps of their fellow Islamists,  in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, three Algerian Islamist parties, the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP),  El Islah  and Ennahda, decided to officially form a new coalition called “Alliance of  green Algeria.”

Full Article: Parliamentary elections in Algeria: Islamist Parties in pole position | Newstime Africa.

Algeria: Foreign observers to monitor Algeria vote | Magharebia.com

When Algeria holds legislative elections in May, the country will for the first time permit monitoring by international observers. The European Union and the African Union recently accepted Algeria’s invitation to observe the poll. According to Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci, “the Arab League, the OIC and the UN “will join in this effort and…the Arab League and the OIC will do likewise”. “We are interested in improving the conditions in which these observers will work,” Medelci told Liberte on January 10th. “We are in a situation where what we call the Arab Spring has exerted a positive influence on everyone to do better, including Algeria.”

Full Article: Foreign observers to monitor Algeria vote (Magharebia.com).

Algeria: Algeria invites observers for 2012 vote | News24

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Sunday invited international observers to monitor a spring 2012 legislative vote he promised would be the country’s most open ever. At a Cabinet meeting, Bouteflika tasked the government with inviting foreign organisations “to massively deploy their observers for the next legislative election”, a statement said.

The statement cited the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, the African Union but also the United Nations and the European Union, which has never monitored polls in Algeria. “I look forward to the upcoming legislative election which will be held amid unprecedented plurality,” the president said.

Algeria: President vows changes to constitution, electoral law | AFP

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika late Friday announced sweeping reforms including changes to the constitution and electoral law, and initiatives that would enhance the role of political parties. Bouteflika said the reforms should be adopted before nationwide elections due in May next year.

In a much awaited 20-minute speech, his first since the start of upheavals that have rocked authoritarian regimes in the Arab world since late last year, he pledged to see through the legislative and constitutional changes “to strengthen democracy”. Algeria’s 1996 constitution was amended in 2009 to allow Bouteflika, who is 74, to seek a third term.

Full Article: President vows changes to constitution, electoral law - ALGERIA - FRANCE 24.