- Title: ALGERIA: Algeria's ruling coalition power weakened in poll
- Date: 19th May 2007
- Summary: CAMERAMEN FILMING PRESS CONFERENCE/ PRESS CONFERENCE SEEN ON CAMERA MONITOR
- Embargoed: 3rd June 2007 13:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA4I36LKDR53HRKGH9KLP5CXPZF
- Story Text: A low voter turnout in Algeria's election results in a weakening of the ruling coalition's power base. Algeria's ruling coalition won a reduced majority in parliamentary polls marked by poor turnout, keeping control of a body dominated by the oil-exporting country's executive branch, officials said on Friday (May 18).
The vote came in the aftermath of a spate of recent bombings that raised fears of a return to the violence that gripped Algeria in the 1990s.
Announcing the results, Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said the poor level of participation and large number of spoiled ballots showed people in the north African country felt political parties were not tackling everyday problems.
The three major parties in the ruling coalition won a total of 249 seats in Thursday's poll -- the National Liberation Front (FLN) won 136 seats, the pro-business Rally for National Democracy (RND) won 61 seats, and the moderate Islamist Movement for Society (MSP) and Peace won 52.
Turnout in the voting to a new 389-seat lower house of parliament was 35 percent, compared with 46 percent in the last polls in 2002, a record low since the first multi-party elections in 1990.
Zerhouni acknowledged that the low turnout signified skepticism of political process that he said the political parties needed to address, but said that the number still showed the resilience of the political process.
The poll was the third legislative election since an Islamist revolt erupted after the cancellation of a national election in January 1992, which a now-outlawed Muslim fundamentalist party was poised to win. Up to 200,000 people have died in political violence since then.
The coalition saw its total number of seats fall to 249 from the 284 it held in the outgoing assembly, all of it accounted for by a drop in the vote for the FLN, which led the 1954-62 guerrilla war for independence from France and governed during the 1962-1989 period of one-party rule.
Zerhouni said the vote sent a message of defiance to those who used violence.
"It expresses our respect to the victims of terrorist attacks that we have seen in the last few weeks in an attempt to stop the democratic election process that our people have chosen," he said.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None