Algerian legislative election, 2012
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A legislative election was held in Algeria on 10 May 2012. The incumbent coalition, consisting of the FLN of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and the RND of Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, held on to power after winning a majority of seats. The Islamist parties of the Green Algeria Alliance lost seats.
Following events in the Arab Spring, Algeria faced initial large scale protests but have since dwindled.
The Workers' Party (PT) announced its participation on 29 February. Louisa Hanoune has previously clarified that the party had worked with the Socialist Forces Front and would look towards an alliance between the two parties. Louisa Hanoune has become the most popular woman in Algeria after the party came second in the Algerian presidential election, 2009. Hanoune said the party's manifesto would be similar to previous elections, including improved employment opportunities, equal rights for women, the elimination of the Algerian Family Code, making Tamazight the second official language, eliminating laws that condemn people for their religion, sexuality or other discriminatory acts and make Algeria a pioneer in production.[vague] She also criticized the creation of new parties that have emerged in January and has asked who funds these new parties.
National Rally for Democracy
The National Rally for Democracy has announced its participation in the election. Ahmed Ouyahia is the party's general secretary and the incumbent prime minister. Ouyahia and Hanoune exchanged strong words in the Algerian media. Hanoune complained about his decision of the military record to the voters, showing that as evidence of possible fraud.
Socialist Forces Front
The Socialist Forces Front (FFS) has announced its participation on 29 February. Hocine Aït Ahmed wrote to the National Council saying that "participation in these elections is a tactical necessity for the FFS, which falls in line with (its) construction strategy of peaceful democratic alternative to this despotic regime, corrupt and destructive. [The purpose of the party] does not lie in a quota of seats to reach [but] in mobilising political[ly] and peaceful[ly] in our party and our people." The party had boycotted the two previous elections because of what it called systematic electoral fraud in favour of the ruling parties.
National Liberation Front
So far, the National Liberation Front (FLN) has not made any official publication of who will be their prime ministerial candidate. The FLN is the biggest party in Algeria and includes President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. There are rumours that its candidate representing the FLN will be Khalida Toumi, the incumbent Minister of Culture.
Green Algeria Alliance
On 8 March, three Algerian Islamist parties (Movement of Society for Peace, Islamic Renaissance Movement and the Movement for National Reform) formed the Green Algeria Alliance. Its secretary general is Bouguerra Soltani. Sultani said that the purpose of this alliance is to consolidate the voter base of the three political parties.
Gallery of candidates
The Socialist Forces Front decided to forgo a decision to boycott the election after international monitors were invited to observe the process. However former Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali urged a boycott on the grounds that the election would be "a foregone conclusion. Social media was abuzz with many of the country's youth calling for an abstention from voting.
Algeria allowed foreign electoral monitors for the election. The monitors would include the Carter Center, the National Democratic Institute and other NGOs from the European Union and the Arab League. Overall, there were over 500 international observers. The government also called the election the "Algerian Spring" billing it as the freest election in over 20 years.
Almost 22 million are eligible to vote for 44 parties following legalisation of most parties this year. Voter turnout was expected to be low, possibly less than 35% from the last election. Bouteflika called for a high participation. The turnout was 42.36%.
- Green Algeria Alliance: Hamas leader Bouguerra Soltani commented: "We are surprised by these results, which are illogical, unreasonable and unacceptable". He attributed the result to "those who would like to return to a single party rule." Soltani estimated that the result would "send the Algerian Spring backwards" and announced that the Islamists would consider boycotting parliament or to ally with the left-wing and liberal opposition against the government.
- Algerian National Front: Party leader Moussa Touati claimed "blatant fraud" and announced to contest the result before the constitutional court.
- Arab League: Hanafi Wajih, the head of the observer team, said that "the election was free and transparent and the Algerian people have expressed their choice without coercion."
- European Union: Ignacio Salafranca, the head of the EU observer team adjudged the election as "a first step in the reform process which will need to be backed, after a constitutional review, by a deepening of democracy". He criticised that international monitors had been denied access to a national voters' register, which contradicted pledges of transparency. However, he welcomed the overall calm atmosphere in which the elections took place.
- Organisation of Islamic Cooperation: The OIC described the election as "successful and democratic" and praised that they had been held "in an organised, transparent and peaceful manner."
- United States: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed the election saying that "the high number of women elected [and the election itself is] a welcome step in Algeria's progress toward democratic reform."
The new parliament's opening session was boycotted by 49 MPs from the Green Algeria Alliance and 11 MPs from two other parties[which?] on the grounds that they claimed the election was fraudulent and "a return to the era of single party rule. We decided to withdraw from the first session of the National Assembly and protest officially against the results of the ballot." Lakhdar Benkhelaf of the Islamist Front for Justice and Development, a part of the Political Front for the Safeguard of Democracy, said the boycott was "a question of principle."
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- "Islamists routed in Algeria's parliamentary elections". The Guardian. May 11, 2012
- Mojon, Jean-Marc (13 May 2012), "US hails Algerian election despite suspicions", AFP
- Algerian MPs boycott parliament session - Africa - Al Jazeera English