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Algerians Hold Local Elections         11/27 08:50


   ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- Algerians are voting Saturday to elect mayors and 
regional leaders amid widespread worry and frustration over rising prices for 
basic goods, housing and health care.

   The government is hoping the election confirms support for President 
Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who won election after his predecessor was ousted in 2019 
by pro-democracy protests backed by the army chief. But many Algerians see 
Tebboune's leadership as only a cosmetic change and are deeply disillusioned by 

   Some 23 million registered voters are being asked to choose mayors and 
representatives in regional assemblies Saturday. More than 134,000 candidates 
are running for the various seats.

   However, some 300,000 applications were rejected by electoral authorities, 
accused of being associated with criminal circles or "dirty money." Opposition 
parties protested the move as unfair.

   Turnout appeared low at voting stations Saturday morning in Algiers.

   Candidates traveled in caravans to meet voters, but the campaign overall has 
met widespread indifference. Algerians "do not have the heart to vote when for 
the majority of them the daily bread and the carton of milk becomes problematic 
for them, because of the collapse of purchasing power," said sociologist Nasser 

   The parliament, where Tebboune's party has the most seats, recently voted a 
2022 budget that cuts subsidies on some basic goods and for housing, health and 
education. Teachers and unions have staged strikes in protest over rising 

   The leader of the Jil Djadid (New Generation) party, urged voters to turn 
out, saying, "The higher the participation rate, the stronger and more 
legitimate will be the future elected officials to put their electoral program 
into action."

   But opposition leader Mohcine Blabbas, president of the Rally for Culture 
and Democracy party, called the whole electoral process "illegal."

   The election is also taking place as Algeria's relations with France and 
Morocco are currently facing unprecedented tension.

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