News

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.
Comments
     
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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs