10/04/2009

Suspicious results in Algeria

The results fell: Abdelaziz Bouteflika was reelected for a third presidential term with the incredible score of 90.24% of the votes! The tone had been given five months ago with the vote by the Parliament of a draft of a revision of the Constitution submitted by the President and that was meant to remove the limit of two consecutive presidential terms. Three months later, the outgoing President of Algeria confirmed the rumors by presenting itself as a candidate for a third term.

In front of five almost nonexistent opponents, the three weeks of campaign didn’t give rise to any suspense so much that yesterday, voting day, some newspapers ironically already announced the victory of Bouteflika. One challenge remained: the participation rate. This morning, official sources have pompously announced a 74.11% participation rate, which is incredible because of the low attendance observed in the polling stations but also because of the low percentages reported throughout the day. The opposition has already denounced numerous irregularities that took place during the ballot.

In light of these results, the reactions of the people have the right to be gloomy. The Algerian people will live another five years of crisis due to mismanagement of the country and its wealth. By the way, the concerns of the street before the elections were more turned to the increasing price of the potato than to the outcome of the polls.

The abstention was the main weapon of the opposition during the campaign. Maybe could it be useful to consider the struggle in a positive way for the future? Criticism is good but must be accompanied by alternatives: opening to the Maghreb partners, opening to Europe, modernization … Algerians have five years to prepare the post Bouteflika era.

N.J.O.