Voting started Saturday in Algeria’s first parliamentary elections 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 1208 independents, to win seats in the 407-member parliament.
The vote will witness, for the first time, the adoption of an open list system for selecting candidates under a new election law adopted by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
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, Tebboune promised that the vote results will be determined by the citizens.
In March, Tebboune issued a decree calling for an early parliamentary elections on June 12, less than a month after dissolving the People’s National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara
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