Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika casts his vote in Algiers on May 10, 2012.

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Turnout was about 15 percent

Voters are choosing members of parliament

About 500 international observers are in Algeria for the election

CNN  — 

Voters in Algeria went to the polls Thursday to choose members of parliament.

About 25,000 candidates from 44 political parties are competing for 462 seats in the National People’s Assembly. Roughly 15 percent of voters turned out, according to the Algerian Press Service.

About 500 international observers were on hand to monitor the voting in Algeria, a North African nation of 37 million plagued by high unemployment. The observers were from the European Union, African Union, Arab League and other organizations.

Algeria was the site of some Arab Spring protests, but they were not as large as in other countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

After those protests, in February 2011, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s government declared an end to a nearly two-decade state of emergency, lifting restrictions on speech and assembly imposed to combat an Islamist insurgency.

The emergency declaration was part of a clampdown on Islamist movements during a civil war that left more than 150,000 dead. But critics said the insurgency had long since diminished, and the law remained solely to muzzle critics of the government.

Journalist Said Ben Ali contributed to this report