Women, young candidates to reverse Algeria’s low voter turnout

By Nacera Ouabou, Natalia Roman

Algiers, Jun 10 (EFE).- Young men and women candidates running for Algeria’s upcoming legislative elections are considered an asset amid a predicted record low turnout.

Analysts fear people might abstain from voting and repeat what happened in 2019, when voter turnout for the country’s presidential elections was under 40%.

More than 24 million people are eligible to cast their ballots on Saturday to elect their representatives for the 407-seat parliament from some 1,500 electoral lists, including 800 independent candidates.

More than 13,000 candidates are under 40 years old, including 5,743 women, with 74% involved in university, according to figures by the National Independent Authority for Elections (ANIE).

Some do not favor youth political participation, such as Fawzia ben Sahnoun, the campaign director of the National Democratic Front party.

Sahnoun believes people do not care about how many Algerian women are taking part in the process, but rather what they bring to the table.

“Having diplomas and a university background is insufficient without experience. Politics is made for politicians and militancy for militants, this is how we build Algeria,” she says.

The majority of the candidates agree that the presence of women is not unusual, recalling the active role of women throughout history, especially during the Algerian War of Independence.

Despite the president’s welcoming speeches and incentives, the participation of women, once again, has been a subject of controversy, with conservative parties hiding the faces of their candidates in posters.

A similar incident occurred in 2017, but the election authority rejected said tactics, arguing it is the voter’s right to know the candidate.

Yamina Houmad, a French-born journalist and a candidate for the Voice of People, said the country’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been listening to the demands of the Hirak protest movement, which forced long-time ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika out of office in 2019.

Some of the movement’s current slogans seek to destabilize the country and have already led citizens to go from hope to disappointment, according to Houmad.


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