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Algeria: new government awaits final approval by parliament

July 2, 2021 at 9:18 am

Algerians cast their votes on June 12 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has asked Finance Minister Aymen Benabderrahmane to form a new government to implement the president’s agenda following the victory of his loyalists in the parliamentary election on 12 June, Anadolu has reported. Benabderrahmane, 61, is a non-partisan technocrat.

The former ruling National Liberation Front won 98 out of 407 seats in the People’s National Assembly. Independents ranked second with 84 seats, followed by the MSP with 65 seats, and the Democratic National Rally (the second party of the former ruling coalition) with 58 seats.

With the conservative Future Front winning 48 seats and the Islamic National Construction Movement getting 39, this means that having a simple majority in parliament requires a coalition of at least three parliamentary blocs to reach the 204-seat threshold.

In order to form a government following a legislative election, the constitution, as amended on 1 November, provides two options for the president. Article 103 stipulates that “the government is headed by a prime minister in the event that the legislative election results in a presidential majority”. The latter means a parliamentary bloc that has at least a simple majority of seats and is compatible with or supports the president’s programme.

The same article provides that the government is headed by a prime minister in the event of the legislative election resulting in a parliamentary bloc with a simple majority which isopposed to the president’s programme. Most of the parties have announced their support for the programme, apart from the Movement of Society for Peace, which refused to participate in the government.

The Algerian constitution does not specify a deadline for Prime Minister-designate Benabderrahmane to form his government. The term used is “without delay”. However, Tebboune hopes to have the government formed by next week at the latest.

The new government looks likely to be based on “political quotas”, whereby technocrat presidential loyalists will take control of the sovereign ministries, with the possibility of renewed confidence in the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Sabri Boukadoum, the Interior, Kamal Beldjoud, and Energy, Mohamed Arkab. The parties represented in Parliament will suggest potential candidates for government positions to Ben Abdul Rahman, for distribution in proportion to the number of seats held. Independents will also be in the mix.

The proposed government requires the approval of the president and the Council of Ministers as well as the two chambers of parliament, the National People’s Assembly and the Council of the Nation. The prime minister will have to resign if the lower chamber refuses to ratify the government’s programme. If that happens, parliament will be dissolved and another election will be held within three months.

This is a crucial period for Algeria as the people wait to see if a period of relative political stability will follow the election.