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Africa

Bouteflika poised to win third presidential term

Video by Louis MASSIE

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-04-10

Algeria's incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is set to win a third term on Friday. Authorities claim turnout reached 74.11 percent despite opposition calls for a boycott.

Algeria’s incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was poised to seal his third term in office on Friday. The Algerian interior ministry said the official results of Thursday’s presidential election would be announced at 9 am local time (GMT+1).

Voter turnout was 74.11 percent, and 36.48 percent of registered overseas voters cast their ballots, Algerian Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni announced on public television.

According to Zerhouni, in many districts the turnout was higher than for the 2004 presidential elections, especially in the capital of Algiers and the Kabylia region.

Early figures showed strong support for Bouteflika, according to the Algerian Press Service. Algerian TV showed images of fireworks set off as Bouteflika's supporters in Algiers celebrated his anticipated win.


Opposition cries foul

Authorities claimed the level of participation was high despite opposition calls for a boycott.

Mohammed Djahid Younsi, candidate from the Islamic party El Islah (Reform), told France 24 on Friday: "The turnout figure announced is not exact. It’s exaggerated. In some districts, mayors came to voting bureaus and forced bureaus chiefs to add votes."

In an interview with FRANCE 24 on Thursday, Said Saadi, leader of the opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy, also accused the authorities of inflating turnout figures.

"Electoral frauds are routine since independence," said Saadi. "In the south, I’m told that Algiers ordered voting officials to release turnout figures of 70 percent. The police threw out those who refused and immediately replaced them."

Days before the election, Zerhouni promised transparency and "respect for the results of the vote" in Thursday’s poll.

International organizations, including the African Union and the Arab League, sent observers to Algeria.

The United Nations has sent a review mission that is to report back to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Date created : 2009-04-10

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