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Bouteflika party, coalition allies win parliamentary majority

Farouk Batiche, AFP

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's party and its coalition ally have won a clear majority of seats in parliament, results released by the interior ministry showed on Friday.

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Bouteflika's National Liberation Front took 164 of the 462 parliamentary seats. Its coalition ally, the Rally for National Democracy, won another 97.

The National Liberation Front has been the sole ruling party since Algeria’s independence in 1962. Bouteflika has been in power since 1999, despite a stroke that has left him largely incapacitated.

In 2009 he won his third straight term as president, even though he was scarcely seen on the campaign trail.

Despite a 2012 law that requires at least 30 percent of parliamentary candidates to be women – and the emergence of small parties led by young people and focused on local issues – only a minority of Algerians bother casting ballots in parliamentary votes.

Political analyst Rachid Grim says Algerian politicians’ complete lack of credibility is the main reason behind voter apathy.

In a bid to raise awareness about the lack of political options, two parties – Jil Jadid (New Generation) and Talaie El-Houriyat (Vanguard of Liberties) – called on voters to boycott the election. That sparked an angry reaction from Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, who said those who wanted to throw their right to vote in the trash bin were welcome to do so, but that they should not push other Algerians towards “doubt and despair”.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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