Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Algeria Closes Land Borders ahead of Elections | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55372779

Algeria’s Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal speaks next to his Italian counterpart during a press conference after the intergovernmental summit Italy-Algeria on May 27, 2015 at Villa Madama in Rome. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO

Algeria- The Algerian government has urged voters to head to the ballot boxes next week as the parliamentary elections campaign concludes on Sunday amid a decision to close the country’s borders.

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal promised a “bright future” in case of high voter turnout.

During a visit to Tamanrasset, which lies 1,200 kilometers south of the capital, Sellal said that the elections next Thursday “are a step towards a bright future.”

He seemed confident that the southerners will head en masse to polling stations.

The government wants voter turnout to exceed 51 percent to avoid any doubt in the legitimacy of the Algerian Parliament.

In a meeting with associations and organizations in Tamanrasset, Sellal stated that its residents will have a strong participation in the democratic process.

He said: “Some think that our optimism in the future is exaggerated but we say that this optimism suits high hopes pinned on Algeria.”

The Algerian prime minister, who was accompanied by cabinet members, continued that “the team of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika serves a nation that in the 20th century witnessed a bitter struggle and huge sacrifices for the sake of freedom and sovereignty and for preserving the Republic and fighting strife and hatred.”

He added: “This is why, this nation has the right to live in the 21st century in safety and welfare, with citizens feeling pride in their history and willing to move their country towards modernity.”

Part of the opposition is carrying out a campaign against the prime minister’s activities by calling for boycotting the elections under the pretext that the polls “give spirit to a regime that has become fragile due to the sickness of Bouteflika and his incapacity to rule the country.”

Soufiane Djilali, leader of the opposition party Jil Jadid, is leading this campaign along with a group of politicians, unionists, journalists and party leaders.

Meanwhile, Sellal ordered the closure of Algeria’s land borders on the occasion of the elections.

“We are aware that the borders’ closure has caused a drop in trade and tourism activity in the region (of Tamanrasset), but preserving security and stability compels such measures,” the PM said.

Al-Qaeda militants and some smaller groups allied with ISIS are active in some rural mountainous areas and border desert regions in the south of Algeria.