• Critics of various governments in the MENA region have often pointed to elections, and the extent to which they are free, fair, and transparent, as an example of their lack of legitimacy.

  • Analysis // Apr 15, 2014
    Frédéric Volpi
    As in many other authoritarian regimes in the region, the Algerian elections are not meant to facilitate a change of leadership through voting, but are merely a vehicle to give some token electoral “legitimacy” to the regime’s candidate. Disqualification of opposition candidates, administrative and financial hindrances, backroom deals, and political cooptation, as well as media control and poll fixing, have been the most common electoral tropes in Algeria since the mid-1990s. After gaining the favor of various political and military factions within the regime at the end of that decade, Abdelaziz Bouteflika was duly and unsurprisingly elected and reelected president for over ten years (in 1999, 2004, and 2009). Having weathered the storm of the Arab uprisings reasonably well, the Algerian regime saw no reason to change its winning formula for the 2014 presidential elections.