No Arab Spring for Algeria

May 10, 2012 at 1:10 PM
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ALGIERS, Algeria, May 10 (UPI) -- As Algerians head to the polls, the government called on foreign monitors to stay at bay, noting their revolution took place more than 50 years ago.

Tunisians voted in a largely Islamic government after their early 2011 revolution and similar developments are under way in post-revolutionary Egypt.

Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said during the weekend, however, that the so-called Arab Spring was a "disaster," noting his country's revolution occurred more than 50 years ago.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika sanctioned 23 new political parties and added more seats to the country's Parliament. The slogan for the election is "Algeria is our spring," though many youth voters decided to stay home, the BBC reports.

An estimated 25,800 candidates are competing for the nod from roughly 21.6 million registered voters. There are around 400 foreign monitors in the country, though the government warned them to act with "objectivity and discretion," the British broadcaster adds.

Al-Qaida last year called on Algerians to rise up against their government. The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for Algeria ahead of the vote, noting terrorist attacks and kidnappings "occur regularly" in parts of the country.

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