Algeria's Bouteflika wins re-election in landslide (Roundup)
Apr 10, 2009, 14:31 GMT
Algiers - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was elected to an unprecedented third five-year term with 90.24 per cent of the vote, Interior Minister Nouredine Yazid Zerhouni announced Friday.
The re-election of the 72-year-old Bouteflika was considered a foregone conclusion after the two main opposition parties decided to boycott Thursday's vote, alleging that it had been 'rigged in advance.'
The five candidates who stood against Bouteflika were marginal political figures little known by the general public.
Louisa Hanoun of the extreme left-wing Workers Party (PT) finished second with 4.22 per cent of the vote, followed by Moussa Touati of the Algerian National Front, with 2.31 per cent.
The higher-than-expected voter turnout was also a triumph for Bouteflika. According to official figures, a record 74.54 per cent of Algeria's 20.6 million eligible voters cast their ballots on Thursday.
During his campaign the president had urged people to go to polling stations, even if it meant voting against him. On Wednesday, he had said that only a turnout of 70 per cent or better would give him a true mandate.
Touati said the turnout figures were 'exaggerated,' while Ali Fawzi Rebaine, the candidate from the nationalist Ahd 54 party, who received less than 1 per cent of the vote, charged that the vote was marked by 'intimidations.'
The election was marred by a number of violent incidents, including a bombing at a polling station in the eastern region of Kabylie in which two police officers were injured.
However, there were no reports of attempts by Islamist terrorists to disrupt the vote, as the government in Algiers had feared. These fears had moved the interior ministry to deploy more than 20,000 police officers in and around the capital.
Bouteflika had campaigned on a platform of stability and economic growth. He promised amnesty to every Islamic terrorist who lays down his arms and vowed to construct 1.5 million new homes and create at least the same number of new jobs.