On Friday, the Council of the Nation (the second chamber of the Algerian parliament) approved by a majority a bill to establish a supreme electoral authority, for the first time in the country's history. This is in addition to amendments to the electoral law in preparation for the presidential elections, expected to be held before the end of the year.
This was announced in a public session chaired by the Council's Acting Speaker Salah Goudjil, in the presence of Justice Minister Belkacem Zeghmati, a day after the first chamber of parliament (the People's National Assembly) approved the two laws.
The ratification of the laws at the Council of the Nation occurred after a morning session devoted to their presentation, and the opening of a debate on them, by Minister of Justice Belkacem Zeghmati.
For the first time in the country's history, a bill for the formation of an Independent National Electoral Authority has been approved. The Electoral Authority will oversee, organise and monitor the elections, instead of the government represented by the Ministry of Interior.
The amendments to the electoral law concern the new requirement of a university degree for candidates wishing to run for the presidential elections, in addition to the assignment of the task of studying the candidacy files to the Independent Electoral Authority, instead of the Constitutional Court.
Article 142 has been amended to include the reduction of the number of subscription forms for individual signatures that are to be submitted with the candidacy file, to 50,000 individual signatures instead of 60,000.
It is noteworthy that most of these amendments have been addressed in a report by the Algerian National Commission for Dialogue and Mediation, which it submitted to Algeria's Acting President Abdelkader Bensalah a few days ago, after weeks of consultations with the political class.
The vote of the Council of the Nation (the second chamber of the Algerian parliament) on the two bills paves the way for their entry into force, after the approval of the Constitutional Council (Court), as the last step before they are published in the Official Gazette.
In the last few days, the Algerian authorities have accelerated the pace of the preparation of legal texts on the elections, after the call of Chief of Staff of the Algerian People's National Army, Ahmed Gaid Salah, for the need to organise the presidential elections before the end of the year, "because the situation cannot bear more delay," he declared.