December 19, 2011 / 8:53 PM / 9 years ago

Algerian Islamists seen winning more votes in 2012

ALGIERS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Islamist parties may double their share of the vote in Algeria’s parliamentary election next year but they will still be short of a majority, the leader of the country’s biggest party said on Monday.

Algeria, a major gas supplier to Europe and a Western ally in the fight against al Qaeda, has managed to avoid a spillover from other Arab revolts despite riots over wages and high prices in early 2011.

Islamist parties have been successful following revolutions this year which overthrew the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt.

“Islamist political parties should obtain between 35 and 40 percent of the votes,” Abdelaziz Belkhadem, leader of Algeria’s National Liberation Front (FLN) and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s personal representative, said in remarks carried by the state-run APS news agency.

The parliamentary election will be held in the spring of 2012.

About half a dozen Islamist parties won a total of about 18 percent of the vote in 2007, with the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) accounting for almost half these votes.

The current government is led by a coalition of FLN, MSP and the National Rally for Democracy. The three parties won 43 percent of the vote in 2007.

FLN is trying to win the support of Islamist parties in next year’s parliamentary election as well as in a presidential election in 2014, in which the conservative Belkhadem is seen as a possible candidate.

Bouteflika, 74 and in his third term as president, has promised that the parliamentary elections will be free and fair and for first time will be held in the presence of international observers.

Reporting By Lamine Chikhi

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