Algeria voted in a parliamentary election that overshadowed the crackdown on a long-standing opposition campaign campaigning for a large boycott.
Pro-government parties have demanded a large turnout for “significant votes” hoping to restore stability after two years of turmoil since the forced resignation of veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Protests, which had been demonstrating weekly reforms until it was virtually banned last month, accused the elections of betraying the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Algerians who had driven Bouteflika out of power.
Seven major protesters were arrested before election day while police were mass-deploying in the capital Algiers to anticipate protest attempts.
Voting ends at 7 pm (1800 GMT) and results are not expected within a few days.
Authorities expect solid turnout, but the last two referendums (presidential and referendum) since Bouteflika resigned have both been record lows after protests prompted boycotts. Recorded the level.
Voters in Africa’s largest country must choose from more than 13,000 candidates in 407 seats in Parliament, more than half of which are listed as “independent.”
Saeed Salih, head of the Algerian Human Rights Federation, has accused the crackdown prior to voting.
“The oppressive atmosphere, human rights and freedom-imposed restrictions mean that these elections have no democratic value,” Salih said.
Farida Hamidi, a Parisian activist of the protest movement known in Arabic as Hilak, said the elections made little sense for young Algerians dreaming of change.
“We reject everything done by the President, Parliament, the Constitution, and this military junta that has ruled Algeria since 1962. We want something else,” she said.
Hilak boycotts all national polls to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people in 2019 to drive Bouteflika and his associates out of power after the sick president has begun bidding for the fifth term. Prompted.
After almost a year’s break from Covid’s pandemic, he returned to the streets in February.
But last month, the government tightened its crackdown on Hilak, thwarted protests, and detained hundreds of activists who opposed new restrictions on public rallies.
Late Thursday, opposition leader Karim Tabbou, independent journalist Khaled Drareni, and reformist radio station director Ihsane El Kadi were among the seven detainees. According to the campaign group, the three were finally released on Friday night.
“These arrests show that the Algerian authorities’ crackdown on the right to freedom of expression and association has escalated severely,” Amnesty International said in a statement, detaining more than 200 people in connection with the Hirac movement. I reported that.
Old guards and financial hardship
President Abdel Majid Theboon claims to have responded “at record speed” to Hilak’s main demands, saying that those who are still protesting are “counter-revolutionaries” in the rewards of “foreign parties.” ..
Army chief Saeed Chengriha warned against “actions aimed at interfering with the vote.”
According to protests, Teboon’s past role as prime minister under the Bouteflika administration shows that the old guards, who have been in power since Algeria’s independence from France in 1962, are in power. I am.
The established political parties associated with Bouteflika’s rule, the National Liberation Front (FLN) and the Democratic National Rally (RND), are likely to lose their seats.
The Islamic Party wants to take advantage of it, but it may be struggling to make a real profit because the votes are divided among five rival factions.
Africa’s fourth-largest economy relies heavily on oil revenues, which are sluggish in the face of a slowdown in the global economy. According to World Bank statistics, the unemployment rate is over 12 percent.
According to the Ministry of Health, the coronavirus pandemic, which killed more than 3,500 people in the country, has also been hit hard.
Algeria elects parliament in protest “repression”
Source link Algeria elects parliament in protest “repression”