Claiming to have captured 61.3 percent of the vote, General Liamine Zeroual announced Friday that he was the big winner in the Algerian president election, saying that the vote constituted a victory for democracy. Others aren't so sure. The fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front, the major opposition to the government, was barred from the elections, and some charge the election results were rigged. "Algerian diplomats admit openly that the purpose of the election is to give legitimacy to the government," says TIME's Lara Marlowe. "But how much credibility can the election have when the main opposition is not allowed to participate and its leaders are in prison? The election already resembles 'The Emperor's New Clothes,' with Zeroual strutting around in the invisible trappings of a fictitious democracy. Zeroual was appointed head of state by a military-dominated committee in January 1994, but he sorely wants to be elected 'by the people'."