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Bouteflika wins third presidential term with 90 percent of vote

Video by Armen GEORGIAN , Louis MASSIE , Noreddine BEZZIOU

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-04-11

Algeria's incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika won a third term on Friday with 90.24 percent of the votes cast. Bouteflika, in power since 1999, won more votes in this election than in the 2004 presidential election.

Algeria’s incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika sealed his third term in office on Friday.

Bouteflika won the election with more than 90 percent of the vote, according to official results announced by the Algerian interior ministry.

"Bouteflika has won ... 90.24 percent of the votes cast," Interior Minister Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni told reporters during an official declaration of results.

The 72-year-old Algerian leader, who has been in power since 1999, won more votes in this election than in 2004 (85 percent).

The result came as no surprise after early results showed strong support for Bouteflika.

Hours before the result was announced, Algerian TV showed images of Bouteflika's supporters in Algiers celebrating his anticipated win.

Authorities claimed a high level of participation in the election, despite opposition calls for a boycott.

Voter turnout was 74.11 percent, and 36.48 percent of registered overseas voters cast their ballots, Zerhouni announced on public television on Thursday.

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.

Opposition cries foul

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 : 2009-04-11