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Algeria’s election show no mass support for Islamic extremism

May 12, 2012, 14:28 UTC+3

The envoy stressed the importance of the fact that the election confirmed Algerians’ negative attitude to coups

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MOSCOW, May 12 (Itar-Tass) — Algeria’s parliamentary election demonstrated that the country avoided the shocks of the Arab Spring, Russian presidential envoy for cooperation with African countries Mikhail Margelov told Itar-Tass on Saturday.

“The forecasts that the Arab Spring with its unalterable characteristic – Islamic fundamentalism – will inevitably embrace Algeria, have not come true,” he said. “During the election campaign both representatives of the National Liberation Front and the biggest opposition party – the Socialist Forces Front were criticizing well-known events in North Africa.”

Margelov reiterated that the National Liberation Front (FLN) would be the biggest party in the new parliament, with 220 of the 462 seats. Second place went to the National Democratic Rally (RND), with 68 seats and third – to the Green Algeria Alliance with 48 seats.

Giving his assessment to the alignment of political forces, Margelov noted that “the important result of Algeria’s election is that voters have demonstrated the lack of mass support for Islamic extremism.”

The envoy stressed the importance of the fact that the election confirmed Algerians’ negative attitude to coups. “Meanwhile, the coups after the Arab Spring were considered just the only means for political struggle in North Africa and the Middle East,” he said. “Thus, Algeria stood up to the existing uneasy environment of coups and advance of fundamentalism.”

Margelov saw the reasons for this in Algerians’ historical experience.

“In 1988-1991 Algeria has already witnessed similar events through which its neighbors went recently with dramatic effects. In 1989 under the pressure of demonstrations that turned into riots the National Liberation Front abdicated its monopoly power and Algeria adopted a new constitution becoming a multiparty state. Soon after this among new parties the Islamic Salvation Front with its radical fundamentalist program moved forward,” the envoy said.

“In the first round of the 1991 election the Islamic Salvation Front won an overwhelming victory, for this reason the military government cancelled the runoff. In fact, the civil war began that according to different estimates claimed from 100,000 to 200,000 lives.”

“Possibly, Algerians’ recollection of those bloody events became an obstacle to new shocks that affected Tunisia, Libya and Egypt,” Margelov supposed. “Moreover, questionable consequences of the Arab Spring reinforced the election campaign of the National Liberation Front, where calls for maintaining stability and inadmissibility of foreign interference into the country’s affairs sounded like a veritable chorus. For this very reason the opposition Front of Socialist Forces took part in the election race.”

The envoy for Africa expressed an opinion that “the governmental reforms, decline in food prices, the construction of housing for those in need and the investment of 268 billion dollars into the infrastructure development played a certain role in the victory of the National Liberation Front.”



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