Voting started Saturday in Algeria’s first parliamentary election since the departure of long-serving President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019 amid tight safety measures in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Polling stations opened nationwide at 08:00 local time (07:00 GMT) and will close at 19:00 local time (18:00 GMT).
More than 24 million voters are eligible to cast ballot in Saturday’s polls.
A total of 22,000 candidates are vying in the race, including 1,080 from 28 political parties and 1,208 independents, to win seats in the 407-member parliament.
“We are expecting a reasonable voter turnout in the polls,” Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said after casting ballot in the capital Algiers.
Tebboune said he will respect the result of the vote, adding that he will make decisions “that are in line with democracy” irrespective of which party wins with a majority.
Tebboune previously announced, for the first time, the adoption of an open list system for selecting candidates under the new election law.
The open list system allows voters to arrange the candidates within the same list according to his/her preference. On the contrary, the closed list forced voters to choose the list based on the arrangement set by the party.
During a visit to the National Independent Authority of the Elections on Thursday, the Algerian president promised that the vote results will be determined by the citizens.
In March, Tebboune issued a decree calling for an early parliamentary election on June 12, less than a month after dissolving the People's National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
Bouteflika stepped down in April 2019 after mass protests against his 20-year rule.
*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.