Politics of Algeria

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Algeria

Politics of Algeria takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Algeria is head of state while the Prime Minister of Algeria is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the People's National Assembly and the Council of the Nation. Algeria has a long history of revolution and regime change, making the political climate dynamic and often in a state of transformation. The country is currently a constitutional republic with a democratically elected government, though the military, in practice, remain major powerbrokers along with "a select group" of unelected civilians. These “décideurs” are reportedly known to Algerians as “le pouvoir” (“the power”), make major decisions, including who should be president.[1] Since the early 1990s, a shift from a socialist to a free market economy has been ongoing with official support.

History[edit]

The civil war resulted in more than 100,000 deaths since 1991. Although the security situation in the country has greatly improved, addressing the underlying issues which brought about the political turmoil of the 1990s remains the government's major task. The government officially lifted the state of emergency declared in 1999.[2]

Constitution[edit]

Under the 1976 Constitution (as modified 1979, and amended in 1988, 1989, and 1996) Algeria is a multi-party state. All parties must be approved by the Ministry of the Interior. To date, Algeria has had more than 40 legal political parties. According to the Constitution, no political association may be formed if it is "based on differences in religion, language, race, gender, or region."

Informal power[edit]

While many sources agree that the real power in Algeria is not held by its constitutional organs, they differ as to who/what does. According to the Economist magazine, the military, are major powerbrokers along with "a select group" of unelected civilians. These “décideurs” are reportedly known to Algerians as “le pouvoir” (“the power”), make major decisions, including who should be president.[1] Adam Nossiter of the New York Times states "Algerian politics is still dominated" by men from the ruling party, the FLN,[3] while Moroccan-Italian journalist Anna Mahjar-Barducci, writing in Haaretz, insists the FLN "is a group of apparatchiks constantly fighting each other when they're not tending to the businesses ... with which they have rewarded themselves from their positions of power". According to her real power is held by "the military's Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS)."[4]

Executive branch[edit]

The head of state is the President of the republic, who is elected to a 5-year term, renewable once (changed by the 2008 Constitution to an infinite mandate). Algeria has universal suffrage. The President is the head of the Council of Ministers and of the High Security Council. He appoints the Prime Minister who also is the head of government. The Prime Minister appoints the Council of Ministers.

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika National Liberation Front 27 April 1999
Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal National Liberation Front 28 April 2014

Parliament[edit]

The Algerian parliament has less power relative to the executive branch than many parliaments and has been described as "rubber-stamping" laws proposed by the president.[5]

As of 2012 there were 462 seats in parliament. In the May 2012 election the government reported a 42.9% turnout, though the BBC reported that correspondents saw "only a trickle of voters" at polling places.[5] In that election 44 political parties participated with the ruling National Liberation Front winning more than any other group—220 seats—and an alliance of moderate Islamists coming in second with 66 seats. The Islamists disputed the results.[6]

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in Algeria. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Algeria.

In keeping with its amended Constitution, the Algerian Government espouses participatory democracy and free-market competition. The government has stated that it will continue to open the political process and encourage the creation of political institutions. More than 40 political parties, representing a wide segment of the population, are currently active in Algerian national politics. The most recent legislative election was 2007. President Bouteflika has pledged to restructure the state as part of his overall reform efforts. However, no specifics are yet available as to how such reforms would affect political structures and the political process itself.

In the 2002 elections, there were 17,951,127 eligible voters, and 8,288,536 of them actually voted which made a turn out of 46.17%. Out of the ballots cast, there were 867,669 void ballots according to the Interior ministry and 7,420,867 which went to the various candidates.

The most recent legislative election now is the 2012 one:


e • d Summary of the 10 May 2012 People's National Assembly of Algeria election results
Parties Leader Votes % Seats +/–
National Liberation Front Abdelmalek Sellal 1,324,363 17.35 208 +72
National Rally for Democracy Ahmed Ouyahia 524,057 6.86 68 +7
Green Algeria Alliance (MSPNahdaIslah) Bouguerra Soltani 475,049 6.22 49 –11
Front of Socialist Forces Hocine Aït Ahmed 188,275 2.47 27 +27
Workers' Party Louisa Hanoune 283,585 3.71 24 –2
Algerian National Front Moussa Touati 198,544 2.60 9 –4
Justice and Development Party Abdallah Djaballah 232,676 3.05 8 +8
Algerian Popular Movement Amara Benyounes 165,600 2.17 7 +7
New Dawn Tahar Benbaibeche 132,492 1.74 5 +5
Front of Change 173,981 2.28 4 +4
National Party for Solidarity and Development Dalila Yalaqui 114,372 1.50 4 +2
National Front for Social Justice 140,223 1.84 3 +3
Ahd 54 Ali Fawzi Rebaine 120,201 1.57 3 +1
Union of Democratic and Social Forces 114,481 1.50 3 +3
National Republican Alliance Redha Malek 109,331 1.43 3 –1
Future Front 174,708 2.29 2 +2
Dignity Party 129,427 1.70 2 +2
National Movement of Hope 119,253 1.56 2 ±0
Algerian Rally 117,549 1.54 2 +1
Republican Patriotic Rally 114,651 1.50 2 ±0
Party of Youth Hamana Boucharma 102,663 1.34 2 +2
Algerian Light Party 48,943 0.64 2 +2
Party of Algerian Renewal 111,218 1.46 1 –3
El-Infitah Movement Naima Farhi 116,384 1.52 1 –2
Movement of Free Citizens 115,631 1.51 1 +1
National Front of Independents for Understanding 107,833 1.41 1 –2
National Democratic Front 101,643 1.33 1 ±0
Others 1,306,656 17.12 0 –22
Independents 671,190 8.79 18 –15
Valid votes 7,634,979 100.00
Invalid votes 1,704,047 18.25
Total 9,339,026 100 462
Registered voters/turnout 21,645,841 43.14
Sources: El Watan, Adam Carr's Election Archive, IPU


e • d Summary of the 8 April 2004 Algerian presidential election results
Candidates - Nominating parties votes %
Abdelaziz Bouteflika - National Rally for Democracy 8,651,723 85.0
Ali Benflis - National Liberation Front 653,951 6.4
Abdallah Djaballah - Movement for National Reform 511,526 5.0
Said Sadi - Rally for Culture and Democracy 197,111 1.9
Louisa Hanoune - Workers' Party 101,630 1.0
Ali Fawzi Rebaine - Ahd 54 63,761 0.6
Total (turnout 58.1 %) 10,179,702  
e • d Summary of the 30 May 2002 Algerian People's National Assembly election results
Parties Votes % of Votes Seats
National Liberation Front (Jabhat at-Taḥrīr al-Waṭaniyy / Front de Libération National) 2.618.003 34.3 199
Movement for National Reform (Ḥarakat al-Iṣlāḥ al-Waṭaniyy / Mouvement du Renouveau National) 705.319 9.5 43
National Rally for Democracy (at-Tajammu` al-Waṭaniyy ad-Dīmuqrāṭiyy / Rassemblement National Démocratique) 610.461 8.2 47
Movement for the Society of Peace (Ḥarakat Mujtama` as-Silm / Mouvement de la Société pour la Paix) 523.464 7.0 38
Workers' Party (Ḥizb al-`Ummāl / Parti des Travailleurs) 245.770 3.3 21
Algerian National Front (al-Jabhah al-Waṭaniyyah al-Jazā'iriyyah / Front National Algérien) 113.700 1.6 8
Islamic Renaissance Movement (Ḥarakat an-Nahḍah / Mouvement de la Renaissance Islamique) 48.132 0.6 1
Party of Algerian Renewal (Ḥizb at-Tajdīd al-Jazā'iriyy / Parti du Renouveau Algérien) 19.873 0.3 1
Movement of National Understanding (Ḥarakat al-Wifāq al-Waṭaniyy / Mouvement de l'Entente Nationale) 14.465 0.2 1
Non-partisans 365.594 4.9 30
Front of Socialist Forces (Jabhat al-Quwā al-Ištirākiyyah / Front des Forces Socialistes)

Rally for Culture and Democracy (at-Tajammu` min 'ajl aṯ-Ṯaqāfah wad-Dīmuqrāṭiyyah / Rassemblement pour la Culture et la Démocratie)
Movement for Democracy in Algeria (al-Ḥarakah min 'ajl ad-Dīmuqrāṭiyyah fī al-Jazā'ir / Mouvement pour la démocratie en Algérie)

boycott
Total (turnout 46.2%)     389

Administrative divisions[edit]

Algeria is divided into 48 wilaya (province) headed by walis (governors) who report to the Minister of Interior. Each wilaya is further divided into daïras, themselves divided in communes. The wilayas and communes are each governed by an elected assembly.

Media[edit]

Algeria has more than 30 daily newspapers published in French and Arabic, with a total publication run of more than 1.5 million copies. Although relatively free to write as they choose, in 2001, the government amended the penal code provisions relating to defamation and slander, a step widely viewed as an effort to rein in the press. Government monopoly of newsprint and advertising is seen as another means to influence the press, although it has permitted newspapers to create their own printing distribution networks..

See also List of Algerian newspapers.

Future Concerns[edit]

Population growth and associated problems—unemployment and underemployment, inability of social services to keep pace with rapid urban migration, inadequate industrial management and productivity, a decaying infrastructure—continue to plague Algerian society. Increases in the production and prices of oil and gas over the past decade have led to a budgetary surplus of close to $20 billion. The government began an economic reform program in 1993 which focuses on macroeconomic stability and structural reform. These reforms are aimed at liberalizing the economy, making Algeria competitive in the global market, and meeting the needs of the Algerian people.

International organization participation[edit]

AU, ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU, ECA, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, International Maritime Organization, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MONUC, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL[disambiguation needed], WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (applicant)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Algeria’s election. Still waiting for real democracy economist.com| 12 May 2012
  2. ^ Chikhi, Lamine (2011-01-21). "Algeria army should quit politics: opposition". Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  3. ^ Algerian Election Results Draw Disbelief By ADAM NOSSITER nyt.com| 11 May 2012
  4. ^ A prolonged state of agony in Algeria writing in June 8, 2012| Haaretz,
  5. ^ a b Algeria votes in parliamentary elections 10 May 2012
  6. ^ Ruling Party Wins Big in Algerian Elections| voanews.com| May 11, 2012

External links[edit]