A Small Mandate

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ALGIERS: A weaker than hoped-for turnout gave Algerian President Liamine Zeroual's party 150 seats in the country's first elections since 1992. But fundamentalist parties captured 103 seats, giving the country's Islamic movement a potentially important foothold once again in Algerian politics. More than 60,000 have been killed in the struggle between the government and the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) since the Islamic party, which looked sure to gain control of the government in the 1992 elections, was outlawed after an army coup. Although the FIS is still party non grata, Zeroual has agreed to allow opposition from moderate fundamentalist parties as long as they removed Islamic references from their names and platforms and renounced violence. Zeroual was looking for a large turnout to give some legitimacy to his government that has ruled the country since coming to power in 1992, but was disappointed when only 66 percent voted. Turnout was especially low in Algiers, where a FIS bombing campaign designed to discourage voters had killed 22 in the past week. In addition, TIME's Scot MacLeod reports that while international monitors agree that outright ballot fraud was relatively absent, most Algerians believe the outcome was rigged from the start since Zeroual party relied on government patronage and control of television to boost its chances.