ALGIERS - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika won 90.24 percent of the vote in a presidential election, officials said on Friday, extending his hold over Algeria, an oil producer with a lingering Islamist insurgency.

The result gives Bouteflika, 72, a third five-year term as president and leaves him in power until 2014.

But some in the opposition alleged massive fraud and a newspaper reported rioting east of the capital, underscoring the challenges Bouteflika still faces from sections of the population disillusioned by poverty and joblessness.

Announcing the election result, Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said: This is a victory for the Algerian nation as it builds democracy.

A close Bouteflika ally, Zerhouni said that if there were any voting irregularities they could not have had a significant impact on the result in Algeria, a vast Muslim country that lies across the Mediterranean from the European Union.

El Watan newspaper reported on its Internet site that people protesting the result had blocked roads with burning tires and clashed with police in Kabylie province east of Algiers. The report could not be immediately confirmed.

The mountainous province has a history of anti-government protests. Two police officers were injured in an explosion at a polling station there during voting on Thursday.

Victory for Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria's war for independence from France, was never in doubt. He faced only lightweight rivals in the ballot and had a well-funded campaign that plastered the capital with his posters.

Election officials put voter turnout at just over 74 percent, higher than in the last presidential vote and an indication that many of Algeria's 34 million people did not heed opposition calls for a boycott.

The high turnout means that the supporters of the boycott have neither political nor social influence, said Mohamed Lagab, professor of political science at Algiers University.


Algerian lawmakers cleared the way for Bouteflika to stand for a third term in Thursday's election by abolishing term limits, a move that critics said could allow him to serve as president for life.

The opposition Front of Socialist Forces, which boycotted the vote, accused the authorities of artificially inflating the turnout. (There was) a real tsunami of massive fraud which reached an industrial scale, the party said in a statement.

Nicolas Sarkozy, president of former colonial power France, congratulated Bouteflika on his re-election, Sarkozy's office said in a statement.

The election result matters to the outside world because Algeria, an OPEC member, has the world's 15th biggest oil reserves and accounts for 20 percent of the EU's gas imports.

European governments fear turmoil in Algeria could unleash a flood of illegal migrants, while the United States says it needs Bouteflika's help in its global fight against al Qaeda.

Supporters say Bouteflika deserves credit for steering Africa's second largest country back to stability after the government and Islamists fought a civil conflict that killed an estimated 150,000 people in the 1990s.

But some sections of the population feel disenfranchised from the political process and analysts say that helps feed the low-level Islamist insurgency, now affiliated to al Qaeda, that is still rumbling on in Algeria.