DUBAI - Al-Qaida's North Africa wing has called on Algerians to revolt against the ruling elite and boycott a parliamentary election next month, describing the vote as "plastic surgery", in an audio message posted on the Internet.
Energy-exporting Algeria is the only country in North Africa whose political system has been virtually untouched by Arab Spring uprisings that unseated autocratic rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
The government has made some moves to ease political restrictions, lifting a 19-year state of emergency, authorizing the creation of new political parties for the first time in more than a decade, and inviting European Union monitors to oversee the May 10 vote.
But the head of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said these and other reforms were no more than window-dressing by a degenerate political clique desperate to stay in power, in the recording, titled "Boycott the Election Farce".
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