Abdul Razak bin Abdullah
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front (NLF) appears to have maintained its position as Algeria’s leading political party based on preliminary results of municipal and state council elections.
Thursday’s poll saw over 65,000 candidates from 51 political parties -- along with a number of independents -- vie for 1,541 municipal council seats and 48 state council seats.
“According to the latest vote counts, President Bouteflika’s ruling NLF has maintained its position as the country’s first party,” El-Khabar, a private Algerian daily, wrote.
“Nevertheless,” the paper added, “the NLF appears to have lost some local council seats to Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia’s National Rally for Democracy.”
According to preliminary results reported by local media from different parts of the country, the lion’s share of municipal and state council seats was won by the NLF and Ouyahia’s National Rally, with the former maintaining a slight lead.
The same initial results appeared to suggest that Algeria's Movement of Society for Peace, an Islamic opposition party, had maintained its position as the country’s third strongest political force.
The opposition Future Front, meanwhile, led by former presidential candidate Abdelaziz Belaid, also surprised many observers by clinching an as-yet-undetermined number of seats, according to the same initial polling results.
The Socialist Forces Front and the National Rally, for their part, both maintained their dominance in Algeria’s Amazigh-populated tribal region, which includes several provinces east of the capital.
According to earlier statements by the Interior Ministry, voter turnout stood at about 33 percent of Algeria’s roughly 23 million registered voters.