Last Updated: Wed Apr 25, 2012 13:38 pm (KSA) 10:38 am (GMT)

Algeria premier fears scattering of votes in May election

Algeria’s Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia said on Tuesday that the next parliament will be so divided that no single party will have enough support to win a majority. (File photo)
Algeria’s Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia said on Tuesday that the next parliament will be so divided that no single party will have enough support to win a majority. (File photo)

Algeria’s Prime Minister, fearing a wide scattering of votes in the May 10 general elections in which 44 parties are running, Wednesday urged voters to support the main ruling coalition partners.

Ahmed Ouyahia, who heads the National Rally for Democracy (RND), belonging to a three party political alliance loyal to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, called for “useful” votes.

“The RND and its candidates are trying to ensure that citizens cast useful votes, for an Algeria that moves forward,” he told French-language public radio.

The vote is seen as a test of the reforms promised by the government to avert the outbreak of Arab Spring uprisings that brought down entrenched regimes in neighboring Tunisia and Libya. Bouteflika notably approved the setting up of 23 new political parties.

Algeria’s Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia told the Arab language Ennahar daily on Tuesday that the next parliament will be so divided that no single party will have enough support to win a majority.

Electing the 462 members of the national assembly will take place in a single round of voting.

The score of the seven Islamist parties running will be closely watched, but Ouyahia dismissed any possible repeat of the 1991 scenario when the government cancelled general elections after the Islamic Salvation Front, an Islamist party, won the first round of voting.

“The Algerian people paid a high price for what we lived through. It has learned its lessons,” the prime minister said.

Cancellation of that election led to a decade of violence which left some 200,000 people dead, according to official figures.

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