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Algerian Government Satisfied with Voter Turnout | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A woman carries her son to cast her vote at a polling station during the parliamentary elections in Algiers, Algeria May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Algeria- Algerian Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui has expressed satisfaction with the parliamentary elections turnout, but leader of the Workers’ Party (PT) Louisa Hanoune stated that participation was low.

During a news conference, Bedoui said that the turnout had reached 36 percent by 2:00 pm considering it “encouraging and a strong response to everyone who suspected the coherence of Algerians for the sake of achieving the country’s renaissance and its sons’ aspirations.”

The interior minister said the high turnout at polling stations showed that Algerians were not affected by the calls to boycott the polls and revealed the citizens’ awareness and interest in reinforcing the country’s constitutional institutions.

“The electoral process was flexible and peaceful,” he added.

The Algerian parliament is described by a large segment of society as weak because of the government’s hegemony in enacting laws in the past two years that don’t serve the interest of the majority of Algerians.

The government has also taken strict austerity measures due to the crisis of drop in oil prices.

Observers expected the National Liberation Front (FLN) to retain a comfortable majority but maybe with lesser seats than the 2012 elections, when it won 221 seats.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has rarely been seen in public since a 2013 stroke, voted from a wheelchair at a polling booth in Algiers, Agence France Presse reported.

It was the ailing 80-year-old leader’s first appearance before the international media since he was sworn in for a fourth term in April 2014.

He went behind a curtain to mark his ballot, which one of his nephews slipped into the box, and posed for photographers without making any comment.

Some 45,000 police officers were deployed to guard the more than 53,000 polling stations across the country. The authorities have also used mosques to spread the message, with imams urging Algerians to go to the polls.

Turnout had reached 43.14 percent in 2012 while it did not exceed 35.65 percent in 2007. Experts, however, say that these figures are inflated.