Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika carried out Thursday morning his electoral duty at Algiers Mohamed Bachir-Ibrahimi School as part of the referendum on the draft Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation. To recall, President Bouteflika launched last 14 August his national reconciliation initiative in his speech to the nation’s executives.
Polling stations opened at 8am nationwide for 18,313,594 voters to cast their vote, APS reported. At 10am, the turnout reached 17.10%, the equivalent of 3,132,220 voters, the Interior Ministry announced.
Bouteflika's draft Charter includes an effective amnesty for many of the armed Islamic militants who rose up after the army canceled a 1992 election their politicians were poised to win. According to the Algerian president, the Charter is the only hope of achieving domestic peace.
Critics, however, stressed the darft Charter's failure to meet international standards of truth and justice. "Searching for truth is one of the factors that contributes to the consolidation of peace, and regrettably, one cannot find that in this Charter," an offical at Human Rights Watch said. It is also argued that the Charter runs the risk of reinforcing the climate of impunity which has reigned in Algeria, and that has sustained human rights violations.