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2007 Election - National Assembly

The 2005 Referendum approved the Draft Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation calling for strengthening national cohesion in Algeria. President Bouteflika implemented the Charter on Peace and National Reconciliation on March 1, 2006, as one way to bring closure. It successfully gained the surrender of a number of moderate Islamists but, paradoxically, emboldened the more hard-core elements, in particular the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which merged with al-Qaida in September 2006, and changed its name in January 2007 to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Multiparty parliamentary elections were held in May 2007 for the lower house, but not all political parties were allowed full access to the electoral process. The MOI disqualified the Islamist party Islah on the grounds that its leader had not been elected in a recent party congress. Multiparty local elections were held in November 2007, but the election process was marred by irregularities and charges of fraud. No monitoring of the vote counting process was allowed at the local, district, or national level.

Voter turnout for the 2007 legislative and local elections was lower than ever before because Algeria's young people do not see the political system as having any relevance to addressing their problems. There were reports of restrictions placed on opposition political parties. Opposition candidates complained that the MOI regularly blocked registered parties from holding meetings and denied them access to larger and better-equipped government conference rooms while facilitating the activities of the pro-Bouteflika National Liberation Front (FLN). The law requires that potential political parties receive official approval from the MOI to be established. To obtain approval a party must have 25 founders from across the country whose names must be registered with the MOI. July 2007 amendments to the electoral law stated that a party must receive 4 percent of the vote or have received at least 2,000 votes in 25 wilayas (provinces) in one of the last three legislative elections to participate in national elections.

In November 2008, the parliament adopted a set of constitutional amendments that included a removal of presidential term limits. The parliament approved the proposed amendments by a wide margin with minimal debate. President Bouteflika won a third term in the April 9, 2009, elections with, officially, 90.2% of the vote. Opposition members again complained of unfair media coverage and irregularities during voting, and some parties boycotted the vote.

Restrictions on freedom of assembly and association significantly impaired political party activities and significantly limited citizens' ability to change the government peacefully through elections. Some opposition parties boycotted the election, arguing restrictions on freedom of association skewed the election outcome in favor of the incumbent. A state of emergency implemented in 1992 remained in effect during the year, although the government mostly enforced provisions restricting assembly and association. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.

In keeping with its amended Constitution, the Algerian Government espouses participatory democracy and free-market competition. The government has stated that it will continue to open the political process and encourage the creation of political institutions.

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