Algerian Islamists challenge election results
By Lyes Aflou for Magharebia in Algiers – 15/05/12
Several political parties, largely Islamists, are challenging the results of Algeria's legislative election.
The National Liberation Front (FLN) came away with 220 out of a possible 462 seats in the People's National Assembly, according to the preliminary tally released Friday (May 11th). But those displeased with the outcome have spoken of irregularities and alleged fraud in the way the election process was handled.
Those complaining include the Green Algeria Alliance, comprising the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP), al-Islah and Ennahda, which said that "an 'Algerian Spring' via the ballot box has been postponed".
The Front for Change (FC), led by the MSP dissident and former industry minister Abdelmadjid Menasra, declared on Saturday that Algeria had "thrown away the opportunity for peaceful change".
The Islamist parties' consultative committees will meet separately next weekend to decide how to deal with the current state of affairs. Abderrahmane Saïdi, who chairs the MSP's consultative committee, pointed out that his organisation "will not take any decision which threatens the country's stability".
Meanwhile, Moussa Touati's Algerian National Front (FNA) said it would challenge the Constitutional Council over its nine seats, claiming a "fraudulent process". His case is expected to be followed by a string of smaller parties.
Louisa Hanoune, who chairs the Labour Party, described the ballot as an "unacceptable abuse of power", following the loss of at least six of its previous 26 seats. The press has quoted her as saying that her organisation won 11 seats in Algiers. "The next day, four seats were unceremoniously taken away," she claimed.
Adjustments were under way in a number of wilayas before the final results could be announced. The Constitutional Council has 72 hours from receiving the final results to make an announcement. Those wishing to challenge results will then have 48 hours to present their claims.
"We refuse to recognise these results," said Abdallah Djaballah, founding chairman of the Islamist Front for Justice and Development (FJD), whose newly-approved party won only seven seats.
With the FLN's 220 seats combined with Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia's National Democratic Assembly (RND), which has 72 seats, the ruling party has achieved an absolute majority. Taken together, the Islamist parties have a total of 59 MPs, the 3rd strongest group in the Assembly.
"The last poll conducted by the government before the election campaign ended – and we have the documents to prove this – gave us 65 seats," Djaballah said.
The Islamist leader went on to say the elections were a "travesty" and "an attack on the will of the people". The election "has created a situation of insecurity and instability", said Djaballah, who ran as a candidate in the presidential elections in 1999 and 2004.
"We are in talks with the various parties which have rejected these elections to reach a common position," said the FJD's chairman, refusing to rule out the possibility of a collective withdrawal from the next APN.
The Front of Socialist Forces (FFS), the oldest opposition party, which returned to the political arena after a 10-year boycott, stated that "the system used all its ingenuity to consolidate its hold on power," and took note of the results, to which it would respond "politically". It won 21 seats, before having one of them taken away and handed to the RND.
For its part, the secular Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), which boycotted the ballot, said "the status quo has been confirmed".
The election monitoring committee (CNSL) has received a few complaints about incidents occurring during the ballot. This wave of complaints is however in marked contrast to the positive appraisal from the 500 foreign observers.
José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, who led a mission of 150 observers from the European Union, said at a press briefing that the conditions under which voting took place "were generally satisfactory, apart from a few very isolated minor incidents".
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