The single most notable message from the recent elections in Algeria was the high rate of voter disinterest, according to a new International Crisis Group (ICG) report. In the capital, Algiers, 70 per cent of voters stayed away. In the Kabylia region, where there have been massive anti-government protests, alarming levels of violence and a powerful movement to boycott the elections, turnout was as low as 2 per cent. ICG Middle East Program Director Robert Malley said: "Since they won their independence, the Algerian people have gone from the enthusiasm of the post-colonial days, to authoritarian single-party rule, chaotic pluralism, and then a grisly war that has been civil in name only. Today, Algeria's political class - in power and in opposition alike -- faces a straightforward task: to prove that it can be useful and that politics can work".
Jun 27, 2002