Friday, 14 March 2014

Algeria 2014 Elections Could Be Marred by Deceptive Numbers

Can the Algeria 2014 presidential elections avoid the fraud that has cast a shadow over the previous ones?

For 15 years, Algeria has seen the same president rule at its helm: aging.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Now as the Algeria 2014 elections get underway – in April of this year – many are speculating that the fraud that has cast a shadow over them in the past will be just as rampant this time around.

In 2004, when Ali Benflis ran and was defeated, most other parties boycotted the elections, citing concerns of undeniable fraud. It was during this election that Bouteflika won his second term, later amending the constitution and winning a third term in 2009. Now, with his fourth term prospects looming, many are wondering if Benflis is the only hope for the people.

Case and Point

The most recent legislative elections in Algeria took place in May of 2012. They were widely considered to be rigged as well. According to a Gulf News report, observers stated about a 30 percent turnout nationwide, whereas the government stated nearly a 43 percent turnout, prompting a rash of reports citing fraud at the polling stations. With two parties dominating the elections in 2012 – FLN and Green Alliance – and taking a majority of the seats, the promise of a revised constitution and more efficacious elections has gone out the window with the two sister parties still controlling the government in the Algeria 2014 elections.

Benflis has been a favorite in recent times because he connects to the college graduates and the people. In a nation where graduates suffer a 20 percent unemployment ratio and where the oil rich nation has regular unrest from civilians who can’t find jobs, can’t afford to eat and have little or no utilities, a fourth term for Bouteflika could spell peril. 

Or the worst of what people have feared, an Arab Spring or outright civil war when 70 percent of the population is under the age of 35 and is being ruled by 30 percent, who is out of touch with the society they are supposed to be serving.

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