Polls Close in Algerian Election Boycotted by Opposition Parties

Polls have closed in Algeria where some opposition parties boycotted presidential balloting because electoral laws were changed to allow Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a third term. Meanwhile, two police officers were injured in a bomb blast outside the capital.

Algeria's interior ministry says the policemen were injured in the town of Naceria, some 50 kilometers east of Algeris in an explosion blamed on Islamic militants. Security forces defused two other bombs at the scene.

Al-Qaida's North Africa wing told voters to boycott the election. The group has attacked Algerian security forces since the military canceled the second round of parliamentary elections in 1992, when it appeared that a coalition of Islamist groups might take power.

Election observers say a dozen opposition supporters burned down a polling station and closed two others in the Bouira District on Thursday. The district governor says the two stations closed were later reopened by security forces. Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni told reporters the government regrets the incident, but that it will not affect the election.

Two of Algeria's leading opposition parties are boycotting the ballot, including the Movement for Culture and Democracy, which says it is mourning the death of democracy.

Student Abderazake Ipersia says he did not vote because he has lost faith in the country's politicians.

Ipersia says politicians have failed to deliver on promises to improve the quality of life. He says many young people would rather risk death by leaving the county illegally than stay in Algeria.

While President Bouteflika faced little serious opposition, he campaigned hard, hoping for a big turn-out to validate his efforts at national reconciliation and economic reconstruction.

His final campaign speeches focused on national security. But he also addressed broader social issues by promising to create 3,000,000 new jobs, raise the minimum wage, build more affordable housing and write-off debts owed by farmers.

Officially running as an independent, the 72-year-old veteran of the fight against French colonialism is backed by Algeria's three largest political parties, which together control more than 80 percent of the seats in parliament.

President Bouteflika's five opponents include two nationalist candidates, two moderate Islamists and the nation's first female presidential contender.

Louisa Hanoune of the Algerian Workers' Party told reporters that recent elections have been marred by vote fraud and that the country can no longer tolerate it.

Chadili Nefati led the election observer mission from the Arab League.

Nefati says his delegation visited many polling stations in the capital and found that the vote was conducted according to the law, with good security and order.


Interior Minister Zerhouni is expected to announce the winner on Friday. Most political observers expect President Bouteflika to win far more than the 50 percent of the vote required to avoid a second round of balloting.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs