Algerians Vote In Referendum For ‘New Era’

Algerians voted in a referendum to revise the constitution after long-time President Bouteflika was forced to resign last year following mass protests.

The government hopes it will neutralise the Hirak protest movement and will bring in a “new Algeria“.

But opponents say it will change much. The Hirak has rejected the document and called for a boycott.

The 60,000 polling stations closed and everything points to an extremely low turnout in the vote, and a crushing defeat for the regime.

The turnout rate was just up of 18% according to Mohammed Charfi, the president of the Independant National Authority on Elections.

The turnout were both around the 10% mark, with 11,5% and 12,5%.

In December 2019’s presidential election, the lowest turnout rate in any pluralistic presidential election in the history of Algeria has set the bar at 39,93%.

The text will set presidential term limits and create a new anti-corruption body but it has been criticized.

The vote comes on the anniversary of the start of Algeria’s war of independence against France in 1954.

It also comes as Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is hospitalised in Germany. His health condition has not been disclosed but there are reports of Covid-19 cases among his staff.

Seen by opponents as an old-school regime insider, Tebboune came to power following a December 2019 presidential poll marred by record abstentionism.

The Hirak movement led calls for a boycott of that election, and even official data had put the turnout at less than 40 percent.

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