Algeria's ruling party gains ground in local vote

Algeria's ruling National Liberation Front party has kept the upper hand in municipal elections along with its second-place coalition partner.

While final results are not yet in, the FLN appears certain to remain the premier party in this North African nation - as it has been since independence from France in 1962.

Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia, announcing partial results Friday, put the participation rate at a low 44 percent. Of the 1,541 district councils being contested in Thursday's vote, only 391 were decided outright. Negotiations will determine the winners in the 1,150 other districts.

But President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's FLN was the only party with candidates everywhere and is sure to consolidate its hold - as it did the country's May legislative vote.