People in Algeria are voting in the country”s first legislative election since Abdelaziz Bouteflika was forced from office in 2019 after 20 years in power.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune called the poll as part of his pledge to tackle corruption and build what he called a “new Algeria”. Many nationals living in France are also eligible to vote.
Pro-democracy group Hirak, who helped bring Bouteflika down in 2019, are calling for a boycott of the election over a crackdown on opposition figures and increasing repression of protests.
Politician Karim Tabbou and journalist Ihsane El Kadi, two prominent government critics, were arrested ahead of the poll.
President Teboune’s status as a former prime minister under Bouteflika reinforces Hirak’s view that despite the events in recent years the old guard remains at the helm.
However, on Tuesday, Tebboune told the High Security Council that Algerian law protects the right to vote and “criminalises any interference” with that process.