Roger L. Simon

Battle of Algiers

While usually reliable sources are saying that the “97%” affirmative vote in the Algerian referendum is largely a joke, the Chinese People’s Daily and their ‘friends’ are taking it all more seriously.

France hailed Friday as “democratic consultation” Thursday’s referendum in which the Algerians approved the “national reconciliation and peace charter.”

“The Algerian people just approved by referendum the ‘national reconciliation and peace charter’ proposed by President (Abdelaziz) Bouteflika,” said French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei.

“We hail this democratic consultation to which the Algerians have attended, as much in their country as abroad, in particularly in France,” he said at a news conference.

The Algerians voted “yes” with more than 97 percent of votes to the referendum with a turnout close to 80 percent, according to Algerian Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni.

Opposition and human rights groups, however, urged voters to reject the charter, saying it merely sweeps years of suffering under the carpet and gives the president new power.

The referendum is expected to end the crisis and political violence since 1992, which have left more than 150,000 dead and thousands of missing.

Meanwhile, someone may be letting the dogs out. Very scary.