A total of 24 political parties are vying for seats in Algeria’s parliamentary elections on Thursday, but observers say the big problem could be voter apathy. They say many people no longer have faith in politics and will not bother to vote.
The National Liberation Front led by Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem, a close ally of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is expected to keep control of the assembly. It is currently in a ruling coalition with the National Rally for Democracy led by former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia, whose party has 47 seats in the parliament. The coalition is completed with the Movement of Society for Peace, a moderate islamist party, whose leader, Boudjerra Soltani is a government minister.
The main opposition Islamist party is El Islah, or the movement for national reform. Abdallah Djaballah, who’s called for a boycott, has been replaced by a rival to lead the party into the polls. The only woman to lead a political party is Louisa Hanoune of the Workers Party. In 2004 she was the first woman to stand in a presidential ballot in the country. She opposes privatisation of state firms. After boycotting elections in 2002, Said Sadi of the secular party Rally for Culture and Democracy in the Kabylie region has decided to take part in these polls. He also stood in the presidentials in 2004.
One of the two parties not taking part in the vote is the Islamic Salvation front. They had been tipped to win a ballot in 1992 but the vote was cancelled by the then military-backed authorities and the party was banned.