Elections in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
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The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic claims the Western Sahara, a territory largely administered by Morocco since Spain abandoned it in 1975. The sovereignty over Western Sahara is unresolved: the territory is contested by Morocco and Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), which in February 1976 formally proclaimed a government-in-exile of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). The United Nations, which considers Western Sahara a non-decolonized territory, is attempting to hold a referendum on the issue through the mission Minurso. The UN-administered cease-fire has been in effect since September 1991.
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) elects a legislature, the Sahrawi National Council (SNC), on a national level. The SNC, which is also referred to as the republic's parliament, has 52 members, elected after the General Popular Congress (GPC) of the Polisario Front. The most recent election for the Sahrawi National Council took place between 17 February and 19 February 2008, with Mahfoud Ali Beiba being reelected Speaker of the Council on 27 February. Elections take place within the framework of the Polisario Front, candidates are elected individually and no political parties are allowed. The 12th and most recent GPC was held in Tifariti in the so-called Free Zone between 14 December and 21 December 2007. The GPC also elects the National Secretariat, an executive organ of the Polisario, and its Secretary-General, who then becomes President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Present Secretary-General is Mohamed Abdelaziz. Local and regional officials, as well as delegates to the GPC, are elected at biannual Popular Congresses (or Popular Base Congresses) in the refugee camps in Tindouf Province, Algeria.
|Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro||53|
The constitution of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, first proclaimed in 1976 and last amended in 1996, stipulates that the above-described system is an emergency mechanism that will be in place only for as long as Western Sahara is non-sovereign. After the creation of an independent Western Saharan state, a transformational period defined in the constitution will begin, ending with the installment of a multi-party system on European lines. The Polisario will then be dissolved or transformed into an ordinary political party.
- "Closure on Friday of POLISARIO 12th congress in Tifariti". Sahara Press Service. 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2008-04-21.