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Algeria opposition unveils anti-Bouteflika coalition

New Algerian coalition comprised of 13 political parties aims to counter President Bouteflika
Benflis, a former Algerian prime minister, received only 12.1% of the votes

A group of Algerian opposition parties on Monday unveiled a new coalition aimed at countering President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who won a fourth term as president in last week's polls.

The anti-Bouteflika collocation includes Islamists as well as secularists.

In a statement, the new coalition – comprised of 13 political parties – said it did not recognize the results of last Thursday's election, in which Bouteflika clinched a fourth five-year term as president.

"The will of the public was usurped in this election," the coalition statement read. "An immoral system was used… to ensure that the regime would maintain its grip on power."

Dubbed "Forces for Change," the new coalition described Algeria's current regime as one based on "electoral fraud."

It went on to say it would not take part in any future political activities that did not lead to the restoration of what it described as "popular legitimacy."

Ali Benflis, a former prime minister, received only 12.1 percent of the votes in last week's poll, after which he accused the government of rigging the vote in the incumbent's favour.

Bouteflika, who cast his ballot from a wheelchair on the day of the election, received 81.5 percent of the vote, according to Interior Minister Tayeb Belaiz.

The legitimacy of the poll were doubted both inside and outside Algeria.

"The result is always known in advance," Amira, a 21-year old student of political science, told The Economist.

Her views appear to be typical of the cynicism shared by many of Algeria's youth.

"There lies as much cynicism, hypocrisy and sheer mendacity behind this latest election of a man who can scarcely understand what is said to him, as there is hopelessness on the part of Algerians," wrote renowned columnist Robert Fisk at the British daily The Independent.