Algerians vote in parliamentary election
Algerians headed for the polls on Saturday for a parliamentary election that the ruling establishment hopes will turn a page on two years of political unrest.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has called for a high turnout, but there has been little public enthusiasm for voting in recent elections, with many Algerians convinced real power is wielded by the army and security forces.
“We hope the next parliament will be a force pressing for change that the majority want,” said Ali Djemai, a 33-year-old school teacher, at a polling station in a primary school near Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad’s office in central Algiers.
However, at a cafe nearby, 42-year old post office worker Djamel Badir said the election would change nothing and he would not vote.
“Our parliament is powerless,” he said.
The election takes place against the backdrop of political upheaval, after the leaderless “Hirak” protest movement led to the ousting of veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019 and the fall of many other senior officials.
The Hirak wants a thorough purge of the ruling elite and the army’s withdrawal from politics, and says any elections that take place before those goals are met can be nothing but charades.
Though the ruling elite has publicly welcomed Hirak as a movement of national renewal and jailed some senior figures from Bouteflika’s circle, authorities have also cracked down on the movement with arrests.
Polls are officially scheduled to close at 1900 GMT and results will be announced on Sunday.
Edited by Olajumoke Adeleke