He is the red-hot favourite in what has been called a one-horse race.
Urging people to vote in today’s election, Algeria’s veteran President led by example, casting his ballot in an upmarket district of the capital. While Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s victory by a big margin is in little doubt, he wants a high turnout to enhance his authority for a third term. Challenger Louisa Hanoune of the Trotskyist Workers’ Party also encouraged people to vote. “I am calling for a break with the single party system and for the people to speak once again,” she said. “Apparently, they are saying: ‘I want to express myself.’” Official figures earlier indicated increased participation in several areas, compared to the 2004 presidential election. The traditional opposition has boycotted today’s ballot, amid claims it has been rigged in Bouteflika’s favour. So, with five mostly little-known and cash-strapped rivals, the President’s position seems secure. Security has been stepped up with a number of violent incidents reported today and in the build-up to the vote.