Live Blog: Algerian elections
11.36 President Abdelaziz Bouteflika won a fourth term in office with 81 percent of the vote; opposition leader tells MEE parties will unite to take on new government
You can read more aboput the election results here: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/bouteflika-wins-fourth-term-office
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika clinched a fourth term on Friday with 81.53% of the vote. Read here for more details.
Reports from Algiers suggest results for the election will start to be released around midnight in Algeria (also midnight GMT). We will be following on these results first thing Friday - come back for updates.
As MEE journalist Massinissa Benlakehal headed to the FLN Headquarters in Algiers to report on the elections, he began chatting with Salim, a cab driver and sent this snapshot:
Salim, 35, told MEE: "I lived in England for a long time ago, and now I'm in Algeria because I do believe that this country still has future."
When asked about the elections and what they mean to him, he replied simply, "it is a historical day that all Algerians were expecting with alot of hope. Today, we are in 2014 and people want to live as they've just experienced the survival for along time.
We have the competence and the wealth, natural resources. We want a better Algeria for our children. Our parents suffered as we did so hopefully our children could have a better life in an Algeria. We are willing to be the Africa's Europe. Why not? It is something we can largely do.
I am just a cab driver not a politician and I just want it to be honest and it to develop further.
I only supoort the man who can lead the country,it has nothing to do with neither Bouteflika nor Benflis. We just want everyone to make an effort to help build this country."
Here are photos just sent through by photographer Mohamed Kouache as the vote count begins in Algiers.
In an interview with MEE earlier on Thursday, presidential challenger Ali Benflis said if elected, he will immediately lift all bans on protests. He also reaffirmed support for a Tunisia-style national dialogue process and a new Algerian constitution.
MEE journalist Massinissa Benlakehal reports: Algeria's state run TV, locally known as ENTV, is broadcasting images of long lines of people waiting their turn to cast their vote in polling offices. ENTV's coverage is focusing on people who express their satisfaction with the election process and does not mention the clashes and protests that occured earlier today in the Saharidj and Mechdellah localities and other parts the country.
Algerian Minister of Interior Tayeb Belaiz has annouced that 23.25 percent of eligible Algerian voters participated in the election, as of 2 pm.
Preliminary results of the election are expected to be released early this evening with final results reported tomorrow, according to MEE journalist in Algiers, Massinissa Benlakehal.
Gallery by photographer Mohamed Kaouche
MEE columnist Yasmine Ryan wrote in Foreign Policy on Tuesday: "The controversy surrounding [Bouteflika's] bid for a fourth term has divided the ruling oligarchy to an extent not seen in years."
Also in the article, Ryan writes: "According to Michael Willis, a professor of North African politics at the University of Oxford, the ruling elite doesn't want to take any chances of putting in place a president who might be too independent. Despite simmering clan feuds, Bouteflika is still viewed as the most "manageable" way to preserve the status quo. 'It suggests they're running out of ideas,' he says. 'On some level, if you have somebody who's very, very ill and not very active, then at least well they know that that person won't go off on their own and create problems.'"
MEE journalist Massinissa Benlakehal reports: So far there are 19 gendarmes (security elements) and 13 protestors have been reported injured in the continuing clashes in the locality of Saharidj, east of Bouira. Protestors are using stones and molotov cocktails against the gendarmerie. Many polling offices have been ransacked in Bouira's areas of Ahnif and other villages of the locality of Mechdellah in the same province.
Clashes erupted in Algeria's restive Kabylie region between security forces and youths opposed to Thursday's presidential election, leaving around 40 people wounded, local sources said.
Separate groups of youths seeking to disrupt voting in the Bouria region, southeast of Algiers, ransacked polling stations in three localities shortly after they opened at 0700 GMT, with the police firing to disperse them.
Forty-one people were injured in the unrest, including 28 policemen, with voting temporarily suspended in the affected voting centres, the sources said.
In the capital, where security forces have been heavily deployed, police arrested five protesters shouting anti-regime slogans, an AFP journalist reported.