Voting has begun in what has been billed as the most transparent election in the country’s history, but voters are staying away from the polling booths.
The Algerian government has been under pressure to reform since widespread revolts across the region last year. However, the country has been gripped by apathy, with voter turnout expected to be low.
More than 28000 candidates are standing in the elections, more than 60 candidates per seat.
The BBC’s Chloe Arnold reported from the Algerian capital, Algiers:
“Algerian flags – white and green with a red crescent moon – are fluttering from the lamp posts. But very few people are out on the streets.
At a polling station in the el-Biar district of Algiers, there were about a dozen police officers outside, but almost no voters for them to keep under control.
I asked how many people had been in to vote two hours after the polls opened and was told only 10. They were mostly old people, they told me.
Mehdi, an architecture student, on his way to a cafe, said there was no point in voting because it wouldn’t change anything – Many Algerians see parliament as a rubber stamp for any laws President Abdelaziz Bouteflika wants to pass.
Billboards put up especially for the elections have had their campaign posters ripped down or defaced – a sign many people have chosen to boycott this vote.”
The results of the Algerian elections are expected to be announced on Friday.