Algeria government face off political parties over election posters

Algeria government face off political parties over election posters
Algerian political parties said they will display the photos of women candidates after the government ordered them to change election posters showing blank avatars.
2 min read
19 April, 2017
Algeria is in election mode as voting time nears [Twitter]
Algerian political parties have been ordered to reveal the faces of women candidates on election banners, after posters were spotted showing blank faces instead of photos for female party representatives in one region.

The posters were diplayed in Bordj Bou Arreridj province, a conservative area in Algeria where female faces on election material are said to be traditionally left blank.

Political parties said they would change the images after the government gave them a two day deadline to use photos of female candidates or face legal action.

"This kind of encroachment is dangerous; it is not legal and it opposes all laws and traditions," said Hassan Noui of Algeria's election monitoring group said, according to the BBC.

"It is every citizen's right to know whom he will vote for."

The posters sparked uproar when women candidates for several political parties - including the Socialist Forces Front - were represented with avatars.

The posters showed blank faces with hijabs for women hopefuls, while male candidates displayed their photos.

Political parties and women candidates in several Muslim countries have used avatars or other images to represent them on election posters in the past.

The Salafi Nour Party in Egypt faced criticism for choosing the party logo on election posters instead of some women candidates.

In Jordan, a woman running for the country's lower house used an image of a plant pot in one banner, although the motive for this is still not clear.

Campaigning for Algeria's parliamentary elections began two weeks ago with voting scheduled for 4 May.

Around 14,000 candidates are competing for 462 seats at the lower house - the People's National Assembly - and women must make up between 20 and 50 percent of the candidates fielded by political parties.