Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Algeria election: former PM Abdelmadjid Tebboune pulls ahead in early results and now with details
Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Liz Cookman
Early results in Algeria’s contentious presidential election indicate an outright win for former prime minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune in a vote fiercely opposed by the nine-month-old protest movement.
Local media reported an expected win for Mr Tebboune, who was seen as one of the favourites, with votes still being counted and confirmed results expected either on Friday night or early Saturday.
It had been reported previously that no majority seemed likely and therefore a second round of elections was expected be held between the two front runners.
A low turnout of around 40 per cent was in part because protesters called for a boycott of what they called a sham vote, and demanded a complete overhaul of the political system. They gathered at some polling stations and in the rebellious Amazigh – or Berber – region to the east of the capital a video purported to show ballot boxes being seized and ballots scattered on the ground.
The protesters say the election will only keep the ruling elite in power, that they are not transparent or fair. The government have been accused of tampering with results in previous elections and there are no international election monitors.
The five candidates, who all served under or supported ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, are not considered to represent the opposition Hirak movement – named after the Arabic for mobilisation – or pose a threat to the ruling elite.
Hirak supporters refer to the candidates as “the gang” and their grip on power as “le pouvoir”, seeing them as a civilian facade for military rule.
The conviction of two former prime ministers on corruption charges earlier this week was seen as an attempt to show the public that the government was willing and able to reform.
De facto ruler Lt Gen Ahmed Gaed Salah, who triggered the legislature move to force the 82-year-old Mr Bouteflika to step down due to ill health, pushed for the vote as the only way to end the crisis, but protests have stepped up in recent days.
The arrest of protest leader Kaddour Chouicha on Tuesday shows the regime is nervous about the protests. He was sentenced to one year in prison on the same day on the grounds of threatening public security and insulting a public institution.
A number of artists, journalists and activists have also been arrested.
The election winner will be caught between the military and an unhappy population.
Algeria is the largest country in Africa and is a giant of gas and oil. It gained independence from France in 1962.
Updated: December 13, 2019 03:16 PM
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