President of Algeria wins third term in office in landslide victory

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers in February 2006

According to official results, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the 72-year-old president of Algeria, has been reelected to a third term as the country's leader in a landslide.

Yazid Zerhouni, the Algerian Interior Minister, stated that Bouteflika obtained 90.24% of the vote in the election, which was held on Thursday. Voter turnout was 74%, with some of the opposition parties boycotting the election amidst allegations of election fraud.

Zerhouni said at a news conference that the voter turnout was "exceptional", but insisted that the figures had not been manipulated, saying that anyone with evidence of fraud should take it to election officials.

Bouteflika's critics assert that the victory was a foregone conclusion — his opponents were not well known, and his campaign was well-funded. They continued to express outrage over a constitutional amendment adopted last November, which allowed Bouteflika to run for a third five-year term.

The second-place finisher in Thursday's polls was Louisa Hanoune, representing the Trotskyist Workers' Party, who managed to take 4.22% of the vote. The Algerian National Front's Moussa Touati garnered 2.31% of the polls to take third place.

Bouteflika was first elected to be Algeria's leader in 1999. He was reelected in 2004 with 84.99% of the vote.