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The turnout in the legislative elections that Algeria witnessed on Saturday reached 23.03 percent, the lowest number in history, according to the official non-final figures announced by the Independent National Electoral Authority on Tuesday.

Of the 24 million people entitled to vote, the authority indicated that 5.6 million people cast their votes, noting that more than two million of these votes were considered invalid. During the November referendum, the percentage of abstention from participation was 70 percent.

By way of comparison, the turnout was 35.70 percent of the nation during the 2017 legislative elections (42.90 percent in 2012).

There was anticipation for the participation rate, after the two previous elections (the presidential vote in 2019 and the constitutional referendum in 2020) witnessed an unprecedented rate of abstention from voting of 60% and 76%, respectively.

However, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said in a statement to journalists after voting in the Bastaouly Center in the western suburb of Algiers, that this percentage “does not matter.”

He said, “I have previously said that for me, the percentage of participation does not matter. What matters to me is that those the people vote for have sufficient legitimacy to take over the legislative authority.”

He continued, “Nevertheless, I am optimistic from what I saw on national television that there is a demand, especially among young people and women. I am optimistic about the good.”

Voting took place quietly in Algiers, where there were few voters. However, tension was recorded in the Kabylie region, where participation was almost non-existent.

Vice-President of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights Said Salihi told AFP that “riots” had taken place in Bejaia and “the atmosphere is tense” in many villages of Bouira.

He explained that 17 polling stations opened their doors in the morning in Bejaia out of 500, and at 14:00 all offices were closed.

The coordinator of the National Electoral Authority in Tizi Ouzou reported that 136 polling stations and 229 offices were closed due to incidents, including vandalism.

Participation in the Kabylie region is almost non-existent, with a rate of 0.79 percent in Bejaia and 0.62 percent in Tizi Ouzou, according to preliminary official figures.

This is the first legislative elections since the start of the unprecedented peaceful popular protest movement on February 22, 2019 to reject the candidacy of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fifth term. The latter was forced to resign after two months, after spending 20 years in power.





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