Algeria’s Islamists Reel From Stinging Election Fiasco as Votes Preserve Status Quo
More women in office, Nationalists and Islamists still minorities, from the outside it looks like a good result.
Algeria’s Islamists were reeling Saturday from a stinging setback in legislative polls which saw the ruling party come out on top, resisting the Arab Spring’s tide of democratic change.
The governing elite in Algeria, which supplies about a fifth of Europe’s imported natural gas, had promised reform and a new generation of leaders in response to last year’s upheavals in the region, but the election preserved the status quo.
The regime argued that the results showed Algerians’ desire for stability, at a time when regime change was bringing chaos to other countries, and outright rejection of Islamism, whose rise 20 years ago led to civil war.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front (FLN) won 220 out of 462 seats up for grabs in Thursday’s legislative elections, improving on its share in the outgoing national assembly.
The seven Islamist parties contesting the polls could only manage a combined 59 seats, a major setback after their predictions of victory during the campaign.
The National Rally for Democracy (RND) of Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, a nationalist party close to the military and loyal to Bouteflika, came second with 68 seats, compared to 62 in the outgoing house.