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Algerian Election: Q&A with Mohamed Zitout

As part of our live coverage of the Algerian elections, the MEE interviewed Mohamed Zitout, former Algerian diplomat and founding member of the Rachad Movement, an opposition group
Algerian presidential elections are today (AFP)

MEE: What do you expect will happen in the elections? 

Zitout: You will see the president once again because it has been decided that he will be president for another five years. In the Arab context, we have never seen a president lose an election.

MEE: Could Benflis get more votes, as MEE contributor Jeremy Keenan believes is a possilibility?

Zitout: Unless we will have the sun coming from the west instead of the east.

MEE: What do you think will happen, following the announcement of the election results, whomever wins? 

Zitout: The Algerian society is absolutely out of their minds at the moment. It was a dirty war and then corruption . . . the society has been completely dislocated and people don't believe anymore in anyone. It's very sad where we are at the moment, but we are going to see, if there are demonstrations today . . . The  president's health has deteriorated . . . That's never happened before. We have never seen a president in a republic being elected while in this terrible health situation and being on a disabled chair. It gives an idea about the atmostphere. We are like in the end of regime, end of era, but we don't know exaclty what is going to happen. We are escalating torward a chaotic situation which may come in the coming weeks and months.

MEE: What do you make of the street protests of opposition groups over the past weeks?

Zitout: First, protest is not allowed by law. In Algiers, it is not allowed at all. Those who are protesting, they are breaking the law. But we have seen many times in the last few weeks hundreds of Algerian protesting in Algiers and in other towns. We are definitely going to see more of that, that's for sure . . . It's a very heavy-handed regime, but that will not stop people to show their anger, their protest against the situation.

MEE: What is the Rachad Movement’s position on the election? Did you boycott? 

Zitout: We are not a party, we are a movement of resistence. We have no political movements. We are more fighting for a free Algeria without fighting to fight for power . . . we have to save the country. It is in a very, very difficult situation and we may find Algeria completely dislocated and broken up. 

MEE: Have you voted?

Zitout: They don't even give me a passport to go to Algeria . . . they refuse me to even visit my country. I can't vote when I know that the result is known ultimately and by definition. This is a joke. Call it what you want, but it has nothing to do with a vote. The vote, by definition, is when people don't know who is going to win. But for us, we know. We always know that the one who is going to vote is the one who the army has decided to win. Not the people unfortunately.