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Thursday 23 October  

Algeria's Islamists confident of election victory

Published on 7 May 2012 - 8:46pm
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Algeria's main Islamist electoral alliance claimed Monday it would win the most votes in this week's legislative elections if the polls are fair.

"We are certain of victory, whether by knockout or by points," the Green Algeria alliance's leader, Bouguerra Soltani, said at a press conference in the capital Algiers.

He did not specify how many of the enlarged national assembly's 462 seats he hoped his group would secure on Thursday.

Soltani's Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) has 51 seats in the outgoing assembly and runs jointly with two smaller parties -- Ennahda and El Islah -- that bring another eight seats to the alliance.

He said he could envision a government coalition grouping President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's National Liberation Front (FLN), his own Green Algeria alliance and independents elected on the myriad smaller lists.

Bouteflika introduced reforms in the wake of the Arab Spring last year, allowing the creation of new parties but observers argue that many of the 44 parties running on May 10 are empty shells the regime can manipulate.

Soltani, 58, also claimed that Algeria wanted to renew the generation of leaders produced by the 1954-62 independence war with France and argued that "the Islamist movement is the best organised among the new generation."

Bouteflika, 75, was active during the struggle for independence. He was a minister in post-colonial Algeria's first government and has been president since 1999.

Soltani's MSP was part of a presidential alliance with the FLN and the prime minister's party but left it in January to form the Green Algeria alliance. It nevertheless kept its four government posts.

The alliance has struggled to draw crowds during the three-week campaign that ended Sunday.

Large parts of the electorate reject any party associated with the Islamist groups that sowed carnage during the decade-long civil war that ended ten years ago and killed up to 200,000 people.

Radical Islamists also reject the Green Algeria alliance as a movement loyal to the regime.

© ANP/AFP
  • The leader of the Islamist party Movement for a Society of Peace (MSP), ...
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