ALGIERS: Algerian opposition parties are to boycott the inauguration Monday of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after his re-election in a campaign he was too sick to participate in, an opposition leader said.
Five of the parties staying away called on their supporters to boycott the election itself. A sixth — the Socialist Forces Front (FFS) — left it to its rank and file to make up their own minds whether to vote in the April 17 poll. “It’s the logical conclusion of the election boycott,” said Abderezak Mokri, leader of the Movement of Society for Peace.
His party and two other moderate groups — the Front for Justice and Development and Ennhada — joined with the Jil El Djadid (Party of Youth) and the fiercely secular Rally for Culture and Democracy in the polling day boycott.
Turnout in the election was just 50.7 percent, according to official figures, sharply down on the 74.5 percent reported when Bouteflika won a third term in 2009, although that figure was criticized in a leaked US embassy cable as inflated.
But Khaled told AFP that he was taking the plane on Sunday evening to be present in Algiers for the swearing in of the veteran incumbent.
Khaled, who fled to France in the 1980s in the face of threats from radicals, contributed a clip to the Bouteflika re-election campaign from which the president himself was entirely absent.
Bouteflika, who turned up in a wheelchair to cast his own vote on polling say, has hardly been since in public since a mini-stroke which confined him to hospital in Paris for three months last year.