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Turnout Lackluster in Algerian Parliamentary Elections


Algerians voted Thursday in parliamentary elections held amid tight security and fears of renewed violence.

Turnout was lackluster with only 19 percent of nearly 19 million registered voters having cast their ballots by two PM local time.

Algerian media reported widespread apathy and disaffection towards the electoral process.

Voters had to choose 389 members of the lower house of parliament among more than 12,000 candidates from some 25 political parties. But parties aligned with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika are likely to retain a majority.

Official results are expected Friday.

Wednesday, one police officer was killed and two people were wounded in a bomb blast in the city of Constantine.

Algeria's main rebel group, the "al-Qaida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb," had urged voters to boycott the polls, calling them a farce.

Last month, the militant group claimed responsibility for suicide bombings that killed 33 people and wounded more than 200 others in the capital, Algiers.

These are the third parliamentary elections in Algeria since the military canceled the 1992 vote, sparking an Islamist insurgency in the North African country.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

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