Parliamentary Chamber: Al-Majlis Ech-Chaabi Al-Watani


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  Al-Majlis Ech-Chaabi Al-Watani

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  5 June 1997

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats of the new National People's Assembly provided for in the November 1996 Constitution.

Background and outcome of elections:

  General elections for the former National People's Assembly were held in December 1991. The results of the first round of voting, clearly won by the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), were annulled and the Constitution was suspended the following month.

In April 1992, an advisory body on legislation - the National Consultative Council - was set up. It functioned until the appointed legislature, known as the National Transitional Council (CNT), was inaugurated in May 1994 for the three-year transitional period. In May 1996, President of the Republic (since January 1994) Liamine Zeroual announced plans to hold general elections in early 1997; the June date was ultimately set in March, immediately after the adoption of new electoral laws. The CNT was officially dissolved on 18 May.

The new Assembly to be chosen was provided for in the Constitution of November 1996. Its 380 seats were mainly contested by the pro-government National Democratic Rally (RND), formed shortly before the elections under Mr. Abdelkader Bensalah, the CNT Speaker; the Islamic-oriented Movement for a Peaceful Society (MSP) headed by Mr. Mahfoud Nahnah; the National Liberation Front (FLN), the former single party and now an ally of the RND; and a second Islamic party, the Ennahda Movement. The FIS, however, was barred from running. Altogether nearly 7200 candidates (including 553 independents and 322 women) and 39 parties were in contention.

The campaign which officially opened on 15 May proved violent and boisterous, like the period which led up to it. Polling day procedures, monitored by hundreds of national and international observers, were surrounded by heavy security measures. Final results gave the military-backed RND - which had called for a return to stable politics and civil peace - a clear victory over the MSP while the third-place showing of the FLN allowed the two pro-Government parties to obtain an absolute-majority total of 218 seats compared with 103 for the two Islamic-oriented groups. The opposition questioned this outcome, alleging irregularities and fraud. On 8 June, UN observers, for their part, judged that conditions relating to mobile voting booths were of doubtful sufficiency to guarantee neutrality in the voting process.

The new Council of Ministers, headed as before by Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, was announced on 25 June.

Round no 1 (5 June 1997): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 16,767,309
Voters 10,999,139 (65.6%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 502,787
Valid votes 10,496,352

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
National Democratic Rally (RND) 3,533,434 33.66
Movement for a Peaceful Society (MSP) 1,553,154 14.80
National Liberation Front (FLN) 1,497,285 14.26
Ennahda Movement (MN) 915,446 8.72
Front of Socialist Forces (FFS) 527,848 5.03
Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) 442,271 4.21
Workers’ Party (PT) 194,493 1.85
Progressive Republican Party (PRP) 65,371 0.62
Union for Democracy and Freedoms (UDL) 51,090 0.48
Social Liberal Party (PSL) 36,374 0.34
Independents 459,233 4.37

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
National Democratic Rally (RND) 156
Movement for a Peaceful Society (MSP) 69
National Liberation Front (FLN) 62
Ennahda Movement (MN) 34
Front of Socialist Forces (FFS) 20
Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) 19
Workers’ Party (PT) 4
Progressive Republican Party (PRP) 3
Union for Democracy and Freedoms (UDL) 1
Social Liberal Party (PSL) 1
Independents 11

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 368
Women: 12
Percent of women: 3.42

Distribution of seats according to age:  
21-30 years 3
31-40 years 109
41-50 years 191
51-60 years 68
61-70 years 8
Over 70 years 1

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Senior managers 104
Teachers (secondary school) 62
Middle managers 36
Professors and researchers (University) 36
Technicians-clerical staff 22
Lawyers 17
Doctors 15
Businessmen 14
Retired 13
Civil servants 11
Former high-ranking officials 10
Former Deputies 7
Journalists 6
Unemployed 5
Trade Unionists 3
Pharmacists 3
Farmers 2
Others 7

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Copyright 1997 Inter-Parliamentary Union