International News from World: A former ally of Algeria’s deposed leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika was elected president of the protest-wracked country in a widely boycotted vote, sparking another outpouring of anger on the streets Friday.
Huge crowds massed once again in Algiers vowing to keep up their campaign for the total dismantling of the political establishment, following ex-prime minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s victory in Thursday’s poll.
“The vote is rigged. Your elections are of no concern to us and your president will not govern us,” demonstrators chanted after polls marred by unrest and a low turnout.
“Tebboune is worse than Bouteflika. He’s known for being one of the thieves,” said Meriem, a 31-year-old civil servant. “We did not vote and we will not back down.”
But on Friday, Tebboune struck a conciliatory tone towards the protest movement.
“I extend my hand to the Hirak for a dialogue to build a new Algeria,” he said at his first news conference following the poll.
The 74-year-old former prime minister took just over 58 percent of the vote, trouncing his four fellow contenders without the need for a runoff, electoral commission chairman Mohamed Charfi said.
All five candidates served under the two-decade rule of Bouteflika, 82, who resigned in the face of mass demonstrations in April.
The deeply unpopular election had been championed by the army as a way of restoring stability after almost 10 months of street protests.
The candidates — who included another former prime minister, Ali Benflis, 75, and an ex-minister, Azzedine Mihoubi — were widely rejected by protesters as “children of the regime”.