TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algeria’s former prime minister, has won the country’s presidential election, the electoral commission announced on Friday.
Tebboune secured 58% of the vote, enough to prevent a second round. Turnout was just 40%, the electoral body’s head said in a televised news conference in Algiers.
The election had been opposed by a large protest movement that wanted the ballot put off until the entire ruling elite steps down and the military quits politics, euronews reported.
The military, the strongest political player, saw the vote as the only way to restore order in Algeria, Africa’s largest country, a major natural gas supplier to Europe and home to 40 million people.
The five presidential candidates, approved by the state, were former prime ministers Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Ali Benflis, ex-culture minister Azzedddine Mihoubi, former tourism minister Abdelkader Bengrine, and Abdelaziz Belaid, a party leader.
All are familiar faces regarded by the protesters as part of a group that has held power since the country won independence from France in 1962.
In the wake of months of demonstrations, two former prime ministers and other senior political figures were jailed for corruption, in an apparent attempt to calm protests.
After mass demonstrations began in February, protesters forced out former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April.
The protesters believe the army will continue to wield power behind the scenes after consolidating its position in the hierarchy by purging once untouchable rivals.