Algeria’s top parties keep power in local elections

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Election officials count votes inside a polling station in the municipality election in Algiers, Algeria, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Algerians are voting Saturday to elect their mayors and regional leaders amid widespread worry and frustration over rising prices for basic goods, housing and health care. (AP Photo/ Moh Ali)

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — The parties behind the Algerian president’s governing majority dominated local and regional elections, while Islamist parties saw their support diminish, according to official results.

The head of the election authority, Mohamed Charfi, announced the results Tuesday evening after Saturday’s elections. The vote came amid widespread worry and frustration over rising prices for basic goods, housing and health care.

The long-ruling FLN party won the most seats in town halls around Africa’s largest country, followed by allied party RND. Support for Islamist parties El Bina and the MSP fell sharply compared to June legislative elections. The FFS, a party of the pro-democracy hirak protest movement that pushed out longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019, was far behind.

The FLN and RND also won the most seats in Algeria’s 58 regional assemblies. But no party won an absolute majority, so they will have to negotiate to form majority coalitions.

Widespread disillusionment kept turnout low, at 34-36%, but that was still higher than the 23% participation rate in the June legislative elections.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune framed the voting as the final step in a process of renewing politics after Bouteflika’s ouster, following presidential and legislative elections. However the FLN party remains dominant, and pro-democracy activists say the political changes since 2019 have been only cosmetic and failed to make Algerian politics more open and fair.

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