Supporters of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika have been celebrating his huge victory in the country’s presidential election.
The result hands the 72-year-old a third five-year term as president. However, the opposition allege massive fraud. Election officials claim voter turnout was around 74 percent with Bouteflika picking up over 90 percent of the vote. The opposition Front of Socialist Forces, which boycotted the poll, accused the authorities of inflating the turnout and committing fraud on an “industrial scale.” On the streets the reaction was mixed, one man said: “ I voted for Bouteflika, you don’t find a president like Bouteflika, not at the moment, he’s the only one who can help Algeria.” Another was more jaded: “I don’t believe in it anymore, the political class has been overtaken, they are not capable of solving the profound problems we have.” Algeria provides some 20 percent of EU gas and oil imports and the bloc wants it to remain stable after the government and Islamists fought a brutal war in the 1990’s during which 150,000 were killed.