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A Glimpse on Algeria’s Presidential Election: Ex-Premier Tebboune Wins 58% of Votes

A Glimpse on Algeria’s Presidential Election: Ex-Premier Tebboune Wins 58% of Votes
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By Hana Saada

Algiers – Algeria's National Independent Electoral Authority said, on Friday, that former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune had won Thursday's presidential election with 58 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results.

Former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune snatched victory without the need for a second-round runoff, replacing the long-serving president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, pushed out by the fierce popular protests, erupted in February. His runner up was Abdlekader Bengrina, a former minister, who received 17.38 per cent of the vote, elections officials announced on television.

The number of voters, the electoral body's head said in a televised news conference in Algiers, reached 9,692,077 out of more than 24 million electors, including 914,308 registered at the diplomatic and consular centers abroad.

The election was marred by attacks on polling stations in some regions. The opponents had gathered especially in Kabylie, storming the polling stations to prevent elections’ supporters from casting their votes. They demanded the total dismantling of the system before the organization of any ballot, slamming this election as a charade to keep the ruling elite in power. A video had been circulating on social media, showing ballot boxes being seized and ballots scattered on the ground. However, state media, on the other hand, cast the participation as a high enough turnout to vindicate the decision to hold the poll in spite of the boycott.

The shortest-serving prime minister in Algerian history, Tebboune, 74, served from May to August 2017 before being dismissed by the then-President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika and replaced by Ahmed Ouyahia, currently in prison. Tebboune served, also, as Minister of Housing from 2001 to 2002 and again from 2012 to 2017.

According to the Electoral Authority, the Constitutional Council will announce the final results of the presidential election during the period between 16 and 25 December.

The authorities hope Tebboune’s election would chart a new era for the country to put an end to the peaceful 9-month-old protests that toppled the former president of the republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika, whose 20-year-rule was brought to an end in April when the army backed those demonstrations. This political rendez-vous had been championed by the army as a way out of the crisis.

Tebboune, for his part, promised, during the electoral campaign, to address the problems of development, create economic wealth and curb unemployment.

A previous poll set for July was scrapped for lack of viable candidates and interim president Abdelkader Bensalah's term has been extended.