Muslim Voters in No Mood for Fundamentalism

(Chicago Tribune) Frida Ghitis - In the past few months, a number of majority-Muslim countries have held elections and, in every case, the people have shown that they don't want Islamic fundamentalists to take power. In Malaysia, Islamists suffered a crushing defeat in the March 21 elections. The Islamic Party of Malaysia, led by Islamic clerics, lost 75% of its seats in parliament and one of two state governments it controlled. In Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, the April 5 polls brought a resounding victory for secular parties. On April 8, 85% of Algerian voters cast ballots for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has fought to defeat Islamic fundamentalist militants and bring closer ties with the West. The radical Islamic candidate received 5%. The size of his re-election victory brings a whiff of the rigged show-votes so common in Arab countries, but election observers declared that the results fairly reflected the will of the people.

2004-07-20 00:00:00

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