Algerians go to the polls tomorrow in a vote that is widely seen as a foregone conclusion. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is expected to win.
The main question ahead of the election is how many voters will be motivated enough to cast their ballots. It is this participation that is viewed as the key test of the President’s candidacy. The President has five challengers, but none are seen as standing much of a chance and that has inflamed some in the opposition. With banners draped down buildings describing the election as “national mourning”, they are calling for voters to boycott the polls. Others in Algeria are just plain disillusioned. “I am not going to vote. Why would I vote? I have nothing to vote for, no job, so why vote? If I had a job, I would vote,” said one 25-year-old man. Unemployment is high among the young and, running on a platform dominated by the economy, that is just one of the issues candidate Louisa Hanoune wants to tackle. As the sole woman in the race, she is the only other candidate really being spoken about. The final touches are being put in place ahead of Thursday’s vote. Extra police will be out in force amid fears that violence could mar the polls.