Free Elections in Algeria "Likely to Result in Islamist Victory"

Article Summary
The Algerian Interior Minister’s claim that Algerian Islamists differ from their Tunisian and Moroccan counterparts is misguided, says the President of the Movement of Society for Peace. Islamists did not expect such large victories in Tunisia or Egypt, but their success there will likely encourage voters to follow suit in Algeria.

Abu Djerra Soltani, President of the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) in Algeria, has spoken out against the statement of the Minister of Interior and Local Government [Ould Kablia]. [The Minister] said that Islamists would not win the majority in the upcoming legislative elections, as they did in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. [On the other hand, Soltani] declared that those who think that Algeria will break the rule are wrong.

When asked for his opinion on the statements made by Kablia two weeks ago asserting that Islamists would not win the majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections, Soltani said, "All I know is that Algerians will not accept guardians to choose for them.” The MSP’s President explained that the [Islamic] parties which won the elections in Tunisia and Egypt did not expect to win. He claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt had only expected to win 35% of the vote while Egyptians surprised them by granting them 47% of the vote. The same went for the Tunisian party Ennahda, which was surprised by the Tunisian’s faith in [its capacity to lead the country]. In addition, government officials believe that the [Algerian] Islamists’ participation in government for several years makes them different from Moroccan or Tunisian Islamists, who have always been in the opposition. According to this point of view, participation in government at one point in time means that these Islamists would differ from their counterparts who had only always opposed the regime.

Soltani noted:

"To say that Islamists will capture the majority in the event of fair and transparent elections goes hand in hand which what has occured in neighboring countries and in the Arab region. In other words, people are adopting a new outlook, which consists of granting Islamists a chance. In my opinion, the phenomenon will be contagious because Algerians will point to the trust that Tunisians and Moroccans have imparted on their Islamist [parties]. They will ask why they shouldn’t do the same.”

Found in: unprecedented islamist success, soltani, muslim brotherhood, muslim, movement of society for peace parliamentary elections in algeria, kablia, islamists, ennahda, elections, democratic transition, algerian exception

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