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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Algeria elections: Voters' views
Policeman stands outside a polling station in Algiers

The BBC's Rachid Sekkai gauges resident's views in the Algerian capital during the parliamentary elections, held after a series of bomb attacks.

Aicha, 63, retired council worker

Radia, 26, waitress

Athman, 22, university student


Mother-of-nine Aicha has decided not to vote again since the Algerian government cancelled the second round of the 1992 elections, in which the Islamist and now-banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won the first round.

Aicha refuses to vote

I have no faith in the political process.

I don't vote. I haven't voted since the FIS won the elections which the government moved quickly to cancel. Casting one's vote may be a duty but I don't believe in it.

I can't have any aspirations whatsoever.

People say the country is getting back on its feet, but as far as I am concerned, it's still the same. In every election, they [politicians] promise to do many things but nothing happens.

I suspect, some of the recent attacks on the capital might have been state-sponsored.

Terrorism has affected some people more than others. Those who lost loved ones, like those who got their relatives slaughtered, were disturbed more than others, like my family, who were fortunate enough to be spared such horrors.

As for the recent strikes, they were the work of some in the state to obstruct the electoral process.

I don't know how, but I believe it was done to cause trouble for some people.


Radia qualified four years ago but hasn't been able to get a job since. She now works as a summer waitress.

Radia says Algerians do not trust each other

I believe that the main reason for the lack of opportunities is neither the result of terrorism nor political or even economic.

It is simply who you know.

Every Algerian, young and old was hit by terrorism and it had a negative impact on them.

They suffered emotionally. They got depressed. They have changed.

They no longer have the strong personalities they use to be known by [among other Arabs].

Nowadays, they get panicky and edgy easily and quickly.

They don't trust each other anymore. People are suspicious of even their neighbours, for even women have been shown to be involved in terrorism.

The recent strikes have broken the smiles that were being drawn on people's faces. My family home was hit during one of these attacks but luckily no-one was hurt.

As the country started restoring its stability, the recent events broke the peace that we slowly started to enjoy.

Even though the economic situation is getting better, and there is no denial in that, I am still unemployed. And the main reason for that is the nepotism, rampant in the country.

I don't believe in elections, and to prove that, I don't cast my vote because these electoral campaigns are all talk but no action.


Athman is enjoying Algeria's free higher education system which has been in place since the country's independence from France.

Athman says things have changed for the better

Algerians have become vigilant and careful over the last decade or so.

They acquired experience in terms of dealing with terrorism.

The last two major terror strikes have had a small [negative] impact on them, but they soon realised that all they could do is to be more vigilant and watchful over what's going on around them.

I am quite optimistic about the general situation in the country and render the credit to current President Abdelaziz Boutaflika.

Since Boutaflika came to power, a lot of terrorists came down from the mountains and surrendered themselves to the authorities. This has caused things to change, which in turn, caused their [terrorists] mind-set to veer away from religious fundamentalism.

Only a handful of them remain in the mountains.

We can see that the situation has improved since 2000.

The National Reconciliation [amnesty for those involved in terror attacks in the 1990s] started with the arrival of Boutaflika. Now we have security, and foreign investors are now coming to invest in Algeria. These foreign companies need stability to come here. So this shows that security exists.

I believe the way Boutaflika is running the county
is working.

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