BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Monitoring: Media reports  
News Front Page
N Ireland
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Guide to Algeria elections
Algerians go to the polls on 30 May to vote in legislative elections that the authorities believe will "strengthen the country's institutional stability".

The election takes place amid widespread unrest in the largely Berber-speaking Kabylie region.

This was triggered by the death of a youth while in police custody in April 2001, a tense social climate and deteriorating living conditions.

Terrorist groups have also resumed their bomb attacks in the capital Algiers and neighbouring towns.

Berber activists and the main opposition parties are calling for an "active" boycott of the election, accusing the government of failing to ease the tension in Kabylie and of planning to rig the vote.

"A matter of life and death"

At a glance
Number of seats: 389
Election system: proportional representation
Number of registered voters: 17,981,042 including 834,006 registered abroad
Participating parties: 23
Total number of candidates: 10,052
Number of women candidates: 694
Number of independents: 1,266
Number of lists: 943
Number of mobile polling stations: 500

According to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika this election is "a matter of life and death".

He believes it will give the Algerian people an opportunity to decide their own future by voting for a truly representative parliament.

He has urged the people to vote en masse, pledging that all conditions to ensure the election's success will be met.

He has urged the Algerians to "rebel against the advocates of suspicion, fatalism and division, and against those who sow degradation and corruption; against the opportunists and those responsible, directly or indirectly, for the misery endured by the citizens".

Berber activists are threatening to disrupt the elections on polling day.

Mr Bouteflika's response is that while "everyone and every group has the right to choose between accomplishing their electoral duty and abstaining," nobody has the right "to impose their will by preventing people from exercising their constitutional right".

Stakes are high

Plagued by internal dissent, the two main parties of the presidential majority, the National Liberation Front (FLN) and Democratic National Rally (RND), are facing a serious crisis. It could undermine their chances in this election.

The three "moderate" Islamist parties - Movement for Society of Peace (MSP), Ennahda Movement (EM) and Movement for National Reform (MRN) - are said to be ready to capitalise on their problems.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
President Bouteflika says it's a matter of life and death
The MSP, in particular, aims to replace the RND as the country's second largest party after the FLN.

In a bid to improve his party's chances, the RND leader Ahmed Ouyahia used the spectre of an Islamist victory during his campaign.

The interior minister, however, has ruled out the possibility of the 30 May poll producing an Islamist-dominated parliament.


Of the five parties boycotting the election, the FFS backs the grassroots movement spearheading the protests in Kabylie.

Its first national secretary, Ahmed Djeddai, has called for making 30 May "a day of mourning" since, he says, the elections constitute neither a solution nor the beginning of a solution to the crisis facing the country.

The FFS has called for a general strike on 29 and 30 May.

The RCD leader, Said Sadi, has described the parliamentary election as "uncertain" saying it will have "serious consequences" because "it constitutes a danger for society".

Parties boycotting the election
Socialist Forces Front (FFS)
Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD)
Republican National Alliance (ANR)
Movement of Democrats and Socialists (MDS)
Socialist Workers' Party (PST)
He also claims to possess evidence that the military-backed regime has "quotas of seats" to be allocated to the parties in the next parliament.

The ANR, led by former Prime Minister Redha Malek, will shun this election because it is convinced it will be rigged and will not change the political situation in the country.

Mr Malek thinks the election timing indicates the authorities' "bankruptcy and inability to contain the crisis".

The MDS believes the election is a masquerade, saying: "No to the elections with the Islamists and a corrupt system."

The PST has organised rallies and meetings to promote the boycott.


Nobody is ruling out serious clashes between the boycott advocates and the security forces, who will be deployed to protect polling stations, particularly in Kabylie.

President Bouteflika's warning last week that these elections are a matter of "life and death" may come back to haunt him.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

28 May 02 | Middle East
27 May 02 | Middle East
18 Mar 02 | Country profiles
18 Mar 02 | Middle East
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Media reports stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Media reports stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |