WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States is disappointed with
Algeria's presidential election in which six of the seven
contenders pulled out to protest fraud, State Department spokesman
James P. Rubin said Friday.
``The elections in Algeria might have represented a clear step
forward on the path to democracy and political reform,'' Rubin
said. ``We are clearly disappointed by the events of recent days.''
An aborted election in 1992 triggered an Islamic uprising and
violence that has left 75,000 people dead.
Algeria could end that crisis by ``promoting democracy, the rule
of law and economic reform,'' Rubin said. ``The Algerian leadership
now assumes a heavy responsibility to pursue credible reform.''
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, seen as the choice of Algeria's powerful
military, was declared the winner Friday with 73.8 percent of the
Voter turnout estimates varied widely. Algeria's interior
minister pegged it at 60.3 percent, but one candidate who withdrew
said it was 25 percent.
``We do not have enough information at this time to make an
authoritative assessment,'' Rubin said. It was not possible to have
international election observers present, he said.