12 May 2012

Algeria ruling party wins poll

12:38 pm on 12 May 2012

The party which has ruled Algeria since its independence from France 50 years ago has been returned to power in a parliamentary election.

Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia, who oversaw Thursday's election, said the National Liberation Front (FLN) would be the biggest party in the new parliament with 220 of the 462 seats.

He said the RND party of Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia is in second place with 68 seats and the moderate Islamist Green Algeria alliance third with 48.

More than half of eligible voters abstained, with many saying they had no faith there would be real change, while 17% of ballots were spoiled or invalid.

Analysts said the low election turnout helped the FLN whose traditional supporters - the elderly, the military, public servants - are the most likely to turn up and vote while those who could have countered them stayed at home.

The result is in contrast to other north North African countries. Egypt, Libya and Tunisia all have had revolutions that ousted autocratic leaders while Morocco, Algeria's neighbour to the west, now has an Islamist former opposition leader as its prime minister.

The insurrections in the region last year prompted calls for Algeria to embrace democracy more completely and to refresh an establishment that has run the country without interruption since independence from France in 1962.