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2012 Election - National Assembly

By 2010 citizens had little to do with a political process that was increasingly detached from society. Terrorist violence in Algeria resulted in more than 150,000 deaths during the 1990s. Although the security situation in the country has improved, addressing the underlying issues that brought about the political turmoil of the 1990s remains the government's major task. By 2007 the Algerian regime that was fragile in ways not been before, plagued by a lack of vision, unprecedented levels of corruption and rumblings of division within the military rank and file.

Riots broke out 06 January 2011 in the capital of Algeria because of soaring food prices. Protesters set fires and hurled stones at police in Algiers. Security officers responded with tear gas. Tensions remained high in the capital's neighborhood of Bab el-Oued, where security officers patrolled the streets. The violence erupted after price hikes were enacted for basic items, such as sugar, flour and oil. Algeria deployed police to mosques and other areas in the capital on Friday, as new riots broke out over rising food prices and high unemployment.

On Thursday 10 May 2012 voters cast ballots for the 462-member parliament. About half of the 44 political parties that competed were legalized this year. The moderate Islamist coalition that includes Algeria's ruling National Liberation Front was expected to emerge as the top vote-getter. An Islamist victory, in Algeria's first elections since the Arab Spring, would echo trends in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. An alliance of moderate Islamists claimed 66 seats and claimed “widespread fraud.” Opposition activists citing ongoing distrust of promised government reforms had urged voters to stay away from the polls.

Algeria's main ruling party, the National Liberation Front, won 220 seats in the 462-seat legislative body. The National Democratic Rally, known by French initials RND, finished second to give the pro-government alliance a comfortable majority. Opposition parties said the vote was rigged, and have encouraged foreign observers to hold officials to account. The interior ministry said voter turnout was 44-percent, compared to a record low turnout of 37-percent in the 2007 elections.

The European Union and the United States endorsed Algeria's parliamentary elections as an important step toward reform, even as some opposition forces expressed suspicion that the vote was fraudulent. The head of the EU observer team there, Jose Salafranca, criticized Algeria for not giving foreign observers free access to the nationwide electoral roll. He said officials running the elections had pledged more transparency. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated Algerians on expressing "their will." She also applauded the high number of women elected.

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