Algeria: An Alarming No Vote

The fundamentalists' big gain is more a protest against socialist rule than a mandate for an Islamic republic

Given the warning flares that went up as far back as June 1990, when the Islamic Salvation Front coasted to easy victory in Algeria's municipal races, expectations were high that fundamentalists would score well in the country's first free parliamentary election. Even so, shock waves rattled both the Arab and Western worlds last week, when Islamists walked away with almost half the national vote, despite competition from 40 other political parties. In the first round of balloting, fundamentalists secured 188 of 206 seats and were poised to win enough of the 224 remaining seats in a runoff election on Jan. 16...

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