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Algeria

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The 1999 Algerian presidential election took place on 15 April 1999 to elect the President of Algeria. Abdelaziz Bouteflika was elected with 73.8% of the vote after the other six candidates withdrew on the eve of the election.

Contents

Background

Incumbent president Liamine Zeroual announced in September 1998 that early presidential elections would be held in February 1999. He also said that he would not be a candidate in the election, in a move which was reported as being due to infighting within the Algerian army.[1] The election was later set for the 15 April and the official campaign began on the 25 March.[2] The government set up a panel to oversee the election, the Independent National Commission for Monitoring the Presidential Election (CNISEP) and President Zeroual called upon all government officials to stay neutral.[3]

The election took place to the backdrop of continuing conflict in the Algerian Civil War. Restoring peace to the country was the major issue for the election.[2]

Candidates

The frontrunner was a former foreign minister, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was supported by much of the military and establishment. Bouteflika had the backing of the two main parties in the governing coalition and said that he would work to increase trust in the government and would not rule out talking to anyone.[2] Pro-government newspapers described Bouteflika as the "national consensus candidate".[4]

The other candidates included Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, a former education and foreign minister, who received backing from the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). He supported talking with the FIS and for the military to withdraw from politics. Another candidate Abdallah Djaballah, the founder of the Movement for National Reform, called for a government of national unity to be formed.[5]

Two former prime ministers were candidates. Mouloud Hamrouche, prime minister from 1989 to 1991 was a former member of the governing National Liberation Front (FLN) who had fallen out with the leaders of the party. Mokdad Sifi was prime minister from 1993 to 1995 and was backed by part of the National Rally for Democracy (RND) which did not support Bouteflika. He opposed an amnesty or negotiations with murderers of women and children.[5]

Youcef Khatib was an independent candidate and former advisor to President Zeroual's 1995 election campaign. Lastly Hocine Aït Ahmed, the founder of the Socialist Forces Front, campaigned by calling for Algeria to be neither a military dictatorship or Islamic fundamentalist state. Near the end of the campaign Ahmed had a heart attack and had to go to Switzerland for treatment.[5]

Withdrawal

Less than 24 hours before the election six of the seven presidential candidates withdrew claiming the election would not be fair.[6] The candidates claimed that electoral fraud by the army ensured that Bouteflika would win the election. Among other things they said that voter lists were being padded and extra ballot papers being printed to support Bouteflika.[7]

Outgoing President Zeroual refused to meet the candidates to discuss their grievances and criticised the candidates for withdrawing, describing the move as illegal.[6][8]

Election results

Official figures showed turnout to be just over 60% with Bouteflika winning easily. However other candidates said that the turnout was very low, with Ibrahimi saying it had really only been about 25%.[8]

e • d  Summary of the 15 April 1999 Algerian presidential election results
Candidates - party votes %
Abdelaziz Bouteflika - National Liberation Front (FLN) 7,445,045 73.8
Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi 1,265,594 12.5
Abdallah Djaballah - Movement for National Reform 400,080 4.0
Mouloud Hamrouche 314,160 3.1
Mokdad Sifi 226,139 2.2
Youcef Khatib 121,414 1.2
Hocine Aït Ahmed - Socialist Forces Front (FFS) 32,179 0.3
Total (turnout 60.9%) 10,652,623  
Source:Algeria 1999 Presidential Election

References

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