Algeria rules out of Islamist win in polls
ALGIERS - The Associated Press
Algerian President Bouteflika (L) welcomes Ennahda leader Ghannouchi. AP photoAlgeria’s interior minister has dismissed the possibility of the North African country’s Islamist movement winning elections set for spring.
Dahou Oud Kablia said on the radio Jan. 10 that he doubted the Algerian people would follow the lead of Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt of voting in Islamist parties. Top government officials in Algeria have advanced the idea that the country won’t follow the electoral experiences of its neighbors because of its unique “societal values.” Algeria has three Islamist parties that have discussed forming an electoral alliance. In 1991 Algeria plunged into a decade long civil war that killed around 200,000 people after a military coup prevented an Islamist party from winning the election.
Meanwhile, police fired tear gas Jan. 10 on protesters angry over unemployment and housing shortages in a southern Algerian gas industry town, leaving at least 10 injured, officials said. The clashes in Laghouat began in the morning “when the population responded to provocations by members of the security forces who insulted elderly people who were waiting for a bus,” said a representative of the National Coordination for the Defense of the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC), Abbes Hadj Aissa.
At least 10 people were injured in the ensuing clashes, he said, adding that people in this town of some 500,000 kept their curtains drawn as a mark of protest. Security forces arrested an unspecified number of demonstrators, the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (ALDHR) said. Laghouat is near Algeria’s most important natural gas field in the Sahara. The ALDHR said in a statement that protesters were particularly angry over Algeria’s housing crisis and accused local officials of favoritism in how subsidized homes are allocated.