Amid demonstrations, calls to boycott and with expectations for low voter turnout, Algeria is preparing to hold its seventh parliamentary elections in 30 years under new electoral rules and with more than 13,000 candidates vying for 407 seats.
The government was monopolized by the Liberation Front Party from 1962 until 1991 when the first multi-party elections were canceled by a military coup for fear of an Islamist party victory that would have changed the constitution into Shariah law.
These current elections are being held under new electoral rules which include term limits and opportunities for women and young people to run as well. But the Hirak pro-democracy movement alleges that the open elections don’t go far enough and want the military to withdraw from the government.
More than 50 parties are running in the parliamentary elections, but some parties refuse to participate including the Socialist Forces Front, the Workers party (left wing), and the crowd for Culture and Democracy (secular), claiming that the conditions were not ready to hold them.
Parliamentary elections in Algeria are held in light of a political and societal division between participating political forces and others boycotting the pretext of the absence of conditions of integrity and transparency. While very large sectors of the popular movement expressed their rejection of these elections.
The 13,000 candidates belong to 1,500 lists, more than half of whom are independent and who do not belong to any party.<
Expectations are mixed ahead of legislative elections in Algeria. While independent candidates see an opportunity for more young people and women to take seat in parliament, the voter turnout could be low because of the calls to boycott.
It remains to be seen whether the Algerian elections will produce real transformation in the political system that satisfies the popular movement and that will only become clear after the results are in – and deemed to be fair.