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Algeria: President receives draft constitutional amendments

March 25, 2020 at 10:13 am

Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algerian president, 13 December 2019 [Twitter]

Algeria’s President Abdelmajid Tebboune received draft constitutional amendments on Tuesday prepared by a group of legal experts. Work on the amendments started in January.

Although it announced the latest position, the President’s Office did not disclose the details of the amendments. Tebboune has said previously that they will be “profound”. They will be circulated to political parties and politicians, as well as civil society organisations for their comments and suggestions. Once all are agreed upon them, the amendments will be referred to Parliament, followed by a popular referendum.

The end of the workshop to prepare the amendments has coincided with the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has led the authorities to freeze all political, social and sports activities in the country. The Presidency has not yet resolved the issue of circulating the draft in order to allow the concerned parties to discuss it in these exceptional circumstances.

Unofficial reports claimed before the start of the virus crisis that the new constitution will be submitted to a popular referendum in June. Tebboune said that after this step, the electoral law will be modified, and early parliamentary elections will be held within months.

READ: Algerians forego weekly protest amid coronavirus

On 8 January, the President commissioned a 17-member panel of experts to prepare a new constitution, with a three-month deadline. In parallel to the work of the committee, Tebboune met with leading individuals and former officials to discuss the constitutional amendments and ways to end the political crisis that followed the overthrow of his predecessor, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, last year.

Tebboune has stressed in every media appearance that he is seeking “a profound constitutional amendment to establish a new republic, and that all articles are open to discussion, except for the country’s constants and its Arab, Berber and Islamic identity.”