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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
Algeria tracks down desert voters
Algerian nomad at mobile voting station (Pic: Algerian TV)
Nomads make up 1% of Algeria's voters
Mobile polling stations are roaming the Algerian desert in search of nomadic voters, ahead of Thursday's presidential elections.

As the candidates hold their final election rallies, nomads in southern Algeria have already begun casting their votes.

Jeeps - equipped with security and emergency services - are carrying ballot boxes to isolated regions.

Nomads make up 1% of Algeria's 18m electorate.

The two leading contenders in the election are the incumbent, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and his former ally, Ali Benflis.

"We have provided each polling station with five cars, and with all the necessary resources, including food, water containers, crockery," the president of southern Algeria's Illizi region told Algerian Radio.

176,000 Algerian nomads are expected to vote
There are 402 mobile polling stations
Voting at mobile stations starts 72 hours before election day
Source: Algeria's El Khabar newspaper

"They are all in a good condition to avoid breakdown or similar things happening."

But not everyone is impressed with the mobile polling stations.

The El Khabar newspaper says before the 1999 presidential elections, political parties complained that they were difficult to monitor and equip.


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