Algeria’s May 10 legislative polls are a “sham” and an insult to the electorate, an opposition party boycotting the vote said Monday, predicting a turnout of around 15 percent.
The Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), which suspended its parliamentary activities last year in protest at the executive’s stranglehold on the national assembly, argued most Algerians would boycott the polls.
“Amid the ongoing electoral sham, Algerian men and women are convinced more than ever that the institutions, as crafted by the regime, cannot be a suitable platform for them to express their grievances,” Atmane Mazouz, the head of the RCD’s parliamentary group, told reporters.
It is hard to find a young Algerian in the streets of the capital who intends to vote and the turnout in Thursday’s election is widely expected to further slump from the record low of 35 percent for the previous polls in 2007.
“I really don’t see the turnout figure being much higher than 13, 14 percent... 16, 17 maximum,” Aider Arezki, an RCD lawmaker, told AFP.
However the secretary general of the dominant National Liberation Front, Abdelaziz Belkhadem, has stressed that his party’s electorate was faithful and said he would be satisfied with a turnout of 45 percent.
The RCD denounced the reform package pushed through by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the wake of the Arab Spring last year as lacking any legitimacy because approved by a parliament born of fraud and deceit.
“This move, which has no other goal but to maintain the status quo and shore up an illegitimate government... is an insult to the suffering of the Algerian people,” Mazouz said.
The current parliament’s top three parties are in a government alliance and observers argue that most of the 41 other parties running in Thursday’s polls are empty shells projecting the illusion of democracy.