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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Can ALGERIANS See A True Democracy?

Nearly 19 million Algerian voters heads to the polls to choose the 389 members of the lower house of parliament. (APN)

Three major parties supporting President Bouteflika are expected to constitute majority of the seats in the new assembly. The National Liberation Front (FLN) is expected to keep its position as the largest single party, and the pro-government Rally for National Democracy (RND) is likely to take second place. They are part of a ruling coalition with the Movement of Society for Peace, a moderate Islamist party.

Islamist armed groups have been a threat to the north African country.On April 11 a triple suicide bombing claimed by al Qaeda killed 33 in Algiers. In another incident one policeman was killed and five others were injured when two small bonmbs went off in the eastern city of Constantine on the eve of voting on Wednesday, raising fears of an eventual return to 1990s-style violence.

But social problems are still Algerians' main concern, with unemployment among adults under 30 at a dismal 75 percent.

However the APN or the National assembly has limited powers in the president led Algerian regime. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the country since 1999, is behind the legislative laws passed since he came to power.

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