| 25 February 2024, Sunday |

Algeria’s FLN remains biggest party after election

Algeria’s FLN, which has traditionally been the country’s largest political party, won the most seats in the parliamentary election on Saturday, according to the president of the electoral commission.

The election, which the long-dominant establishment saw as part of its attempt to move beyond two years of major demonstrations and political turmoil, drew less than a third of registered voters.

The 2019 protests urged the removal of the ruling class, the abolition of corruption, and the army’s departure from politics. Authorities welcomed the protests as a time of national rejuvenation, but they also retaliated with arrests.

“The dynamic of peaceful change that was launched (with the protests) is being strengthened,” electoral authority head Mohamed Chorfi said, referring to the election.

With the Islamist MSP obtaining 64 seats, another former ruling coalition party, the RND, gaining 57 seats, and independent candidates gaining 78 seats, the FLN fell far short of the 204 seats needed to secure a majority in the 407-seat parliament.

Most elected members of parliament, however, are anticipated to back President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s agenda, which includes economic reforms.

Islamist groups had planned to profit from the instability of the past two years, which saw the veteran president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, ousted from office and a slew of senior officials imprisoned.

But the biggest difference from previous elections was the much larger number of independents winning seats in parliament, with Islamists retaining about the same share as previously.

The leaderless “Hirak” mass protest movement, which had boycotted the election that placed Tebboune in lieu of Bouteflika in 2019, did so again.

Any vote that takes place while the existing regime is in power and the army engages in politics, according to Hirak, cannot be considered fair.

While official turnout in elections before to Hirak’s emergence was higher, there were still a considerable number of abstentions.

The composition of the new parliament is likely to form the future government, which will face an impending economic crisis due to Algeria’s spending of more than four fifths of its foreign currency reserves since 2013.

  • Reuters