[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
President allies win Algeria poll
Voter in Algiers
The polls passed off peacefully despite fears of violence
The ruling coalition has won Algeria's parliamentary elections on a low turnout, official results show.

The three-party alliance, led by the former ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), won 249 of the 389 seats.

Security was tight on polling day, following a series of bomb attacks. Only about a third of the 18.7m eligible voters cast their ballots.

Correspondents say the low turnout was not surprising as the president and the military hold real power.

Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said the FLN won 136 seats, the pro-business Rally for National Democracy (RND) 61 and the moderate Islamist Movement for Society (MSP) and Peace 52.

He said turnout was 35% - well down on the 46% registered in the last parliamentary polls in 2002.

The radical Workers' Party won 26 seats to become the largest parliamentary opposition.

Irregularities

Mr Zerhouni said the high rate of abstention "demonstrates that citizens expect politics to adapt more concretely and more convincingly to changes in Algerian society.

"The people have shown they are demanding," he said.

Algeria map

But he said his countrymen had shown their political maturity and expressed their choice freely.

However, it has emerged that the National Electoral Monitoring Commission has sent a letter to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika complaining of irregularities. Mr Zerhouni said the letter had been dealt with.

The BBC's Richard Hamilton in Algiers says with low turnout and allegations of irregularities, it is hard to see how the authorities are calling this a success.

At least the polls passed off peacefully despite fears of a renewed radical Islamist campaign sparked by a recent spate of bombings.

About 150,000 Algerians died in the war that followed cancelled polls in 1992.

The biggest fear was that the organisation calling itself al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb would derail the political process and send Algeria back to the bloodiest days of the civil war in the 1990s, our correspondent says.

Those fears were heightened last month when the group said it carried out suicide bombings in the capital that killed 33 people and injured more than 200.

In a bomb attack on the eve of voting, one man was killed and five people injured in the city of Constantine.

The interior minister said the blast was an "act of sabotage" against the Algerian democratic system.

Islamists banned

More than 20 political parties took part in the poll.

The Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which used to have massive popular support, was banned in 1992 when it was poised to win a general election and has not been allowed back into the political fold.

The main political group linked to the Berber-speaking areas in the north-east boycotted the polls.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika launched a programme of national reconciliation in 2005, following years of a violent Islamist insurgency.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Algeria's prime minister comments ahead of the vote



SEE ALSO
Violence ahead of Algeria polls
14 May 07 |  Africa
Q&A: Algerian election
15 May 07 |  Africa
Algeria fighting leaves 15 dead
08 Apr 07 |  Africa



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific