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Algeria election: Turn-out low after opposition calls for a boycott

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By Mark Armstrong with AP, AFP
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Turn-out is reported to be low
Turn-out is reported to be low   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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Initial reports point to a low turn-out in Algeria's parliamentary election on Saturday.

It's the first such poll since the gas-rich North African nation's longtime President Bouteflika was forced to resign two years ago.

The Hirak protest movement had called for a boycott of the election over a crackdown by authorities on weekly rallies. New laws have all but banned demonstrations.

The election was supposed to exemplify President Abdelmadjid Tebboune's ``"new Algeria," with an emphasis on young candidates and those outside the political elite.

But the fact that Tebboune was prime minister under the deposed former president convinces many that the old regime is still in place.

In its most recent update, given while polls still were open, Algeria's electoral authority said that less than 14.5% of the country's 24 million voters had cast ballots.

Some regions, notably in Kabylie, a bastion of opposition east of the Algerian capital, had voter turnout under 1%.