Prior to the political opening that took place at the end of the 1980's, Algerian electoral politics and the institutions of state were entirely within the purview of the FLN. Since then and in spite of a number of purportedly democratic changes from one election to the next, Algeria's electoral system has never been entirely equitable and is far from offering candidates a fair playing field. Electoral management by the country's powerful Interior Ministry and electoral supervision by a judiciary whose impartiality is questionable are key shortcomings.
The country has different electoral systems for its different institutions: a two-round majority system for its presidential elections, a first-past-the-post system for its indirect upper house elections and a one-round proportional system for its lower house, local and provincial elections. Each has its different rules and restrictions as detailed below.