Three Algerian political parties have seen overall gains in their parliamentary representation over the last three parliamentary election cycles. These are the FLN, the PT (Workers’ Party) and the FNA (Algerian National Front). Among minor and opposition parties, the latter two have been most adept at raising their public profiles and fitting themselves into the parliamentary conversation. Both have clear and well defined target audiences. To plot their electoral performance over the last three parliamentary elections is rather striking.
The royal blue line is the PT; the turquoise line just below it, rising in a similar fashion, is the FNA. Note that these are the only two of the major parties seeing consistent gains in parliament; the others suffer greatly in 2002 or 2007 while the FLN makes great gains in 2002 and slight loses in 2007, but still coming out better than in 1997. The FNA had no seats prior to 2002 when it won 8. The lower house of parliament is of practically no political consequence; it is subject to the veto of the Senate, which has a third of its members appointed by the president, and the president himself. Nowadays the parliament is home to a mixture of various parties — some with ideologies, some without — and many independents (that is for another chart). There are a range of reasons for the PT’s electoral success. Part of it is more aggressive campaigning and another part of it is a cozier relationship with the regime. The party has attached itself to several important issues for the disgruntled middle class and former public sector employees. It also draws many women and old-time left-wingers. These are the people displeased with the government’s privatization program and its paling around with Islamists. The party has taken notable stances against the death penalty and on the Family Code, leading social and religious conservatives to chastise their lot as “anti-Islamic”. The PT has the potential for a fascinating case study focused on the 1995-2014 period, at some point in the future.