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  • Presidential candidate Abdelmadjid Tebboune greets attendees during the election in Algiers, Algeria Dec. 12, 2019.

    Presidential candidate Abdelmadjid Tebboune greets attendees during the election in Algiers, Algeria Dec. 12, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 December 2019 (7 hours 15 minutes ago)
Opinion

Presidential elections were actively boycotted by citizens who managed to ensure that the final voter turnout does not even reach 40 percent.

Algeria’s Independent National Electoral Authority (ANIE) Friday declared former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune as the winner of the presidential election, which was held amid massive protests and with the greatest abstention in the history of the country.

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According to the ANIE, the 74-year-old candidate won 58.15 percent of the vote, which prevented a second round. In the electoral process, however, only 39 percent of the voters participated.

The other four presidential candidates, who also were part of the former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's political regime, obtained much lower votes.

Former Tourism Minister Abdelkader Bengrine obtained 17.38 percent of the votes; former Prime Minister Ali Benflis achieved 10.55 percent; former Culture Minister Azzedddine Mihoubi got 7.26 percent, and ex-member of the ruling party's central committee Abdelaziz Belaid reached 6.66 percent.

"In the Tizi-Ouzou town hall, the polls were found full last night. The citizens grabbed them to turn them into crumbs a few meters beyond."

Algeria’s president-elect Tebboune is a 74-year-old man who faced the Bouteflika clan in the summer of 2017 when he assumed the leadership of the government and sought to generate some changes. His political adventure, however, lasted only three months.​​​​​​​

During that period, he proposed an economic reform, which the 2020 fiscal budget contemplates in part, and a "Clean Hands" campaign against corruption, which is led by General Ahmed Gaid Sala.​​​​​​​

Upon being dismissed in August 2017, Tebboune acquired a hero aura in the fight against the interests of the ruling clan, which provided him with a certain advantage at the election campaign.

His political capital, however, began to be diluted when several cases of alleged corruption were publicly known.​​​​​​​

"Either you or us. We won't stop." Many protesters in the streets of Algiers after the presidential elections.

In one of them, Tebboune's son, Jaled, appeared before authorities to testify in a money laundering and cocaine smuggling case, which triggered a purge in the dome of the Army in 2018.

On Thursday thousands of Algerians took to the streets to reject an electoral process that is seen as a mere trick to perpetuate an old and corrupt political class.

The presidential elections in Algeria, which should have been held on April 18, were actively boycotted by citizens who managed to ensure that the participation rate does not even reach 40 percent of the population registered to vote.​​​​​​​

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