Publikation State / Democracy - Political Parties / Election Analyses - North Africa Presidential elections in Algeria – In the Name of Stability

Electoral fraud and the abuse of authority allows President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to take up a controversial fourth mandate. By Sofian Philip Naceur.

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April 2014

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As expected, Algeria’s head of state Abdelaziz Bouteflika won the presidential elections on 17 April 2014 by a high margin. This is the fourth time he holds the country's highest office. According to official figures he gained 81.5% of the vote, ahead of his biggest rival Ali Benflis who received only 12.2%. The results are not surprising. Electoral outcomes in Algeria are usually forged, with results negotiated behind closed doors, long before polls have opened. However, the presidential elections in 2014 were controversial. Bouteflika is widely believed to suffer from severe health problems. With the polls set to open, opposition forces already warned that the ballot might be manipulated.

Both prior to and during the elections several protests took place in the coastal area of Algeria. Several rallies in the capital Algiers were violently dispersed by security forces. The Kabylie province, located east of Algiers and mostly populated by Berbers of the Kabylie minority, has already witnessed numerous protests before the elections. During the polls violent clashes between security forces and protesters took place around the city of Bouira in the same region. Local newspapers reported around 70 injured and some dozens arrested by police forces.typo3/

Most opposition parties have alleged ballot-tempering, and refused to recognize the official results while Bouteflika's clan continues to assert its influence. In Europe and the United States no critical comments were heard about the electoral process or Bouteflika's controversial presidential bid. Finally, Bouteflika's clan, well-known as a reliable partner by his western allies, stays in power. Beside its role as the second biggest and most crucial crude oil and natural gas exporting country in Africa, Algeria is the most important partner for the West when it comes to international security policies in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, with Bouteflika in power, Europe and the US assure the predictable management of their interests in the Maghreb region. Nevertheless, even more important than the presidential election itself is who will be Algeria's next vice-president. This is the key question concerning the political stability of the country.

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