Algeria: BALLOTS, NOT BULLETS

HOPING FOR AN END TO CIVIL WAR, ALGERIANS FLOCK TO VOTE. BUT WILL THE POLL MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

IF YOU GO INTO THE VOTING BOOTH, IT will be your coffin, threatened the notices glued to the walls of mosques by extremist guerrillas of the Armed Islamic Group. "Ballots on Thursday, blood and bullets to follow," promised a rhyme chanted in Arabic by the fundamentalists. In a country where beheading, throat slashing and car bombs have become daily occurrences, no one doubted the militants' fervent wish to drown last Thursday's presidential election in blood.

Many Algerians heeded fundamentalist warnings to stay home. They stocked up on food and supplies ahead of time, and the streets of Algiers, the country's port-city...

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