- Title: ALGERIA: ALGERIANS VOTE TO ELCT A NEW PRESIDENT
- Date: 15th April 1999
- Summary: ALGIERS, ALGERIA (APRIL 15, 199) (REUTERS) 1. SV WOMAN AND MAN VOTING (2 SHOTS) 0.14 2. SV OUTGOING PRESIDENT LIAMINE ZEROUAL VOTING 0.25 3. MCU MAN VOTING 0.31 4. MCU (Arabic) ZEROUAL: "I'm sorry that in the elections some of the caniddates took the step they did (pulled out). That was illegal My hope was that all the candidates would take part in these polls, to give the Algerian people a better chance in choosing different candidates and programmes." 1.29 BEN RAQAY, NEAR ALGIERS, ALGERIA (APRIL 15, 1999) (REUTERS) 5. SLV OF VOTING AT ANOTHER POLLING STATION (2 SHOTS) 1.37 6. MCU (Arabic) VOTER BOUMED AHMED: "I hope that whoever wins proceeds in doing what they say they will and not just win the seat and then tell us that everything is fine." 1.51 7. MCU (Arabic) ANOTHER VOTER: "I voted for Bouteflika. The candidates that withdrew did the wrong thing. Tthe government has helped them in every way possible, and they were wrong to withdraw." 2.06 8. SV BOUTEFLIKA VOTING (4 SHOTS) 2.21 9. MCU (French) BOUTEFLIKA: "I want the Algerian people to express themselves so that the substantial majority can bring about the necessary changes." 2.35 10. SV BOUTEFLIKA LEAVING POLLITING STATION (2 SHOTS) 2.45 11. SLV/SV MORE VOTING SCENES (3 SHOTS) 3.01 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 30th April 1999 13:00
- Location: ALGIERS AND BENRAQAY, ALGERIA
- Country: Algeria
- Reuters ID: LVA8I9ZVH2Y1YXRE8ILNOIZ8RA3P
- Story Text: Algerians have been voting to elect a new president but
their choice has been limited to one man, pro-army candidate
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, after six rivals pulled out complaining
of ballot rigging.
Algeria went the polls on Thursday (April 15) to choose
a president.However, voters had the choice of just one
candidate after all other contenders withdrew on Wednesday.
The state-run radio quoted official figures as saying that
15.06 percent of Algeria's 17.5 million eligible voters had
cast their ballot four hours into the vote.This turnout was
lower than the 17.03 percent recorded at the same time in 1995 polls.
Former Foreign Minister Bouteflika urged Algerians to vote
for him if they wanted change.
"The people must express their will if they want change,"
Bouteflika said after casting his ballot.He told the radio in
a brief statement: "I don't want to become president without
Outgoing President Liamine Zeroual again criticised the
six anti-army candidates for pulling out just a day before the vote.
"I regret the decision by some candidates which is totally
illegal.I hoped that all contributed in this election to give
a big opportunity for a choice among various programmes," he
was quoted by the radio as saying.
The government stepped security presence as some 38,900
polling stations opened around 8.00 a.m.(0700 GMT) in
Algeria's 48 provinces, many of which are hit by seven years
of violence in which over 70,000 people have been killed.
The six this week said they quit the contest because
Zeroual and the powerful army Chief-of-Staff Mohamed Lamari
failed to honour pledges of a fair and transparent election.
Spokesman for the six, Djamel Zanati, said the candidates
would call for nationwide demonstrations on Friday to protest
at the election.
The six men pulled out alleging massive vote rigging as
the military and police cast their ballots0 earlier week to
free the security forces for duty on the day when ordinary
citizens vote.They argued that this evidence of ballot
rigging presaged further fraud at the ballot box on Thursday.
Those who quit were former Prime Ministers Mouloud
Hamrouche and Mokdad Sifi, former Foreign Minister Ahmed Taleb
Ibrahimi, war veteran Hocine Ait Ahmed who heads the secular
opposition Socialist Front Forces (FFS), Abdallah Djaballah of
the Islamist Movement for National Reform, and Youcef Khatib,
a former presidential consultant.
Reuters correspondent Abdelmalek Touati said that ballot
papers with portraits of all the seven candidates were on
display in six polling stations he visited in the capital
Algiers and nearby suburbs.
The country, a major oil and gas producer with a
population of some 30 million, plunged into a continuing cycle
of violence in early 1992 after the authorities scrapped a
general election which radical Islamists were poised to win.
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