Few were surprised when 74-year-old Abdelmadjid Tebboune won Algeria’s Dec. 12 presidential election. With his campaign set amid overwhelming public anger, Tebboune secured more than 50% of a vote marred by record low turnout and public resistance. Nevertheless, his majority was enough to avoid a potentially damaging runoff and an extension of a tumultuous chapter in Algeria’s recent history.
Algeria’s protesters, who for months have turned out in the thousands every Friday, voiced opposition to what they saw as an intrinsically corrupt poll. All five presidential candidates were from the country’s political establishment, which demonstrators see as enjoying an opaque relationship with a cabal of senior army officers, trade unionists and businesspeople, known collectively as the pouvoir.