A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bouteflika Votes from Wheelchair; Algeria Claiming 51.70% Turnout, Much Down from 2009

Algerian television and media made no effort to conceal the fact that 77-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, still affected by last years's stroke, voted from a wheelchair today, even showing him being wheeled in to the polling place, casting his ballot, and being wheeled out again. Previous press photos usually showed him seated and did not usually show him entering or leaving. (Remember too that in the US during WWII. the media never showed FDR in his wheelchair.) Narrative is in Arabic:

Throughout the day, international media reported generally low turnout, suggesting boycott efforts by many smaller parties were having an effect.The authorities announced after the last polls closed that turnout had reached 51.70%, which is markedly less than the claimed turnout in 2009 (74.54%, but widely suspected to be inflated) and down even from 2004 (58.1%). So the claimed turnout, whether inflated or not, acknowledges a dropoff in participation.

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