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Algeria's ailing president wins fourth term

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika wins with a landslide 81 percent of the vote, amid fraud claim by chief opponent.

Last updated: 18 Apr 2014 19:49
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President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has won a fourth term in office with 81.53 percent of the vote, Algerian officials say, a victory which his chief opponent says he does not recognise.

Bouteflika's main rival, Ali Benflis, received 12.18 percent in an election which saw 51.78 percent of Algerians cast their ballots, Interior Minister Tayeb Belaiz told a news conference on Friday.

Coverage of Algerian election

The result comes after a three-week election campaign that saw a spirited effort by Benflis and his supporters. 

Benflis, a former prime minister, criticised the election as marked by "fraud on a massive scale".

"I do not recognise the result... (because) recognising it would be complicit in fraud," Benflis told a news conference after being declared runner-up.

Official figures for turnout were down from the 75 percent turnout for Bouteflika's last win in 2009. The figures have been described by activists and opposition politicians as inflated.

The youngest candidate, Abdelaziz Belaid, came third with 3.03 percent of the vote, followed by the only female candidate Louisa Hanoune, who ustered 1.37 percent.

The two other candidates, Ali Fawzi Rebaine and Moussa Touati both won less than one percent.

When asked about the accusations of fraud, the interior ministerdetailed the election's lengthy vote-counting procedures.

"Anyone who can overcome all that, I salute their intelligence,'' Belaiz said.

The Algerian commission charged with supervising the election as well and African Union observers said the vote went smoothly.

Bouteflika's decision to seek a new mandate after being in power for 15 years had sparked both derision and criticism from those who questioned his ability to rule aftersuffering from a stroke last year. His poor health has forced him to vote from a wheelchair in the elections.

Bouteflika, 77, still remains popular with many Algerians who credit him with helping to end a devastating civil war and contain Arab Spring protests.

A veteran of the war of independence against France, Bouteflika first came to power in 1999, but was dogged in his third term by ill health and corruption scandals.

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