By Charlie Kimber
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International round up: Election boycott shakes ruling regime

Issue 2759
Just 30 percent of Algerians voted on Saturday.
Just 30 percent of Algerians voted on Saturday. (Pic: Magharebia/Flickr)

Millions of people in Algeria, north Africa, boycotted elections held on Saturday as a sign of their continuing opposition to the ruling regime.

Pro-government parties had urged people to turn up in large numbers for the “crucial vote”.

The opposition Hirak movement had called for a boycott because of continuing repression and denial of political rights. Seven Harak leaders were arrested on Thursday.

In the Kabylie region, riot police guarded polling stations where protests forced some voting centres to close early.

Turnout was just 30 percent, the lowest in at least 20 years for legislative elections. It was the first legislative election since protests in 2019 forced former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office after a 20‑year rule.

Real power remains with the armed forces.

Hirak has urged boycotts of all national polls since 2019.

The movement returned to the streets in February after reducing protests for a year because of coronavirus. It has survived a campaign of arrests and a constitutional referendum partly aimed at burying it.

But the government recently stepped up its crackdown against Hirak. It blocked protests and arrested hundreds of activists who defied restrictions on public gatherings.

The strength of the boycott underlines the support for real change.

Castillo retreats as he wins the election

The right is claiming fraud in Peru’s recent election where former school teacher, Pedro Castillo won presidential elections held earlier this month.

Right wing plots and manoeuvres after left wins Peru’s election
Right wing plots and manoeuvres after left wins Peru’s election
  Read More

By Monday it was clear that Castillo had gained over half the votes, with a 50.14 percent share.

The announcement of who would become president was yet to be made. Keiko Fujimori’s Popular Force party has contested 200,000 votes.

Yet no serious irregularities have been identified by the Organisation of American States, which monitored the election.

As the prospect of a Castillo presidency approaches, he has begun to assure the bosses that he will provide safety for profits. There is no sign that Castillo will implement a wealth tax.

Pedro Francke, a top adviser to Castillo said, “We are going to scrupulously respect private property.”

Castillo also made promises to redraft Peru’s constitution. Francke made it clear that a rewrite would maintain Peru’s central bank.

If Castillo becomes president workers must mobilise in their own interests.

Sophie Squire

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