Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Seven African countries' economies at risk over Brexit decision

Read more

THE DEBATE

Britain votes out: What next?

Read more

#TECH 24

The 'fintech' revolution

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

A certified 'palace': How hotels strive for excellence

Read more

#THE 51%

In her own image: Women in Art

Read more

REPORTERS

World War I: When northern France was on German time

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Ugandan city still scarred by Lord's Resistance Army atrocities

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#Brexit sparks a storm on social media

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Markets, pound plunge on Brexit vote

Read more

Africa

Algerian MPs reinstate presidential term limits

© Farouk Batiche / AFP | Algerian parliamentary group leaders vote on a package of constitutional reforms on February 7, 2016, in the capital Algiers

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-02-08

Algeria’s parliament adopted a package of constitutional reforms Sunday that authorities say will strengthen democracy, but opponents doubt it will bring real change.

The reforms are meant to address longstanding public grievances in the North African nation, and possibly to prepare for a smooth transition amid concerns over the health of 78-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The package was passed by 499 votes to two, with 16 abstentions, Senate speaker Abdelkader Bensalah said.

A two-term limit on the presidency — lifted in 2008 to allow Bouteflika to run for a third time — will be reintroduced and the president will be required to nominate a prime minister from the largest party in parliament.

The reforms also foresee the creation of an independent electoral commission and recognition of the roles of women and youth. Freedoms of assembly and the press will be explicitly guaranteed.

The Amazigh language spoken by the indigenous Berber population will also be recognised as official, alongside Arabic.

“This project crowns the process of political reforms promised by the head of state,” Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told parliamentarians.

The reforms guaranteed “democratic change by means of free elections” and were “a bulwark against the vagaries of political change,” he said, referring to parts of the constitution that cannot be altered if Islamists form a majority.

Critics disagree, saying the reforms are little more than a show and will do little to reduce the influence of the powerful elite, including Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front (FLN) party and army generals.

Bouteflika and his inner circle have held a firm grip on power since 1999 and, as the end of his rule appears to close in, there are fears of instability in the mainly Muslim country of 40 million, a key energy producer.

Unlike many countries in the region, including its neighbours Libya and Tunisia, Algeria has been relatively stable since the 2011 Arab Spring.

But it is facing a range of challenges, including regular jihadist attacks, sporadic outbreaks of violence between Berbers and Arabs, and a precipitous drop in state revenues as oil prices have plummeted.

(AFP)

Date created : 2016-02-07

  • ALGERIA

    Veteran Algerian opposition figure Ait-Ahmed dies

    Read more

  • ALGERIA

    Algeria shuts TV station after airing interview with former Islamist insurgent

    Read more

  • ALGERIA

    Algerian leader ‘retires’ all-powerful intelligence chief

    Read more

COMMENT(S)