Politics of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

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The politics of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic take place in a framework of an area disputed and claimed by Morocco, and the Polisario Front's proclaimed republic in exile, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic claims the Western Sahara, a territory currently administered by Morocco, which sovereignty remains unresolved. It claims to control some part of the territory, called the Free Zone. Its government seats in Tindouf, Algeria.

According to its constitution, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a form of single-party state as long as it is not in control of its territory. The organization backing the republic is the Polisario Front, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro (Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro), but it has declared that it will either transform into a normal political party among others, or split into several parties in the eventuality of an independent Western Sahara.

Colonized by Spain from 1884 to 1975, as Spanish Sahara, and after the tripartite agreement, known as the Madrid Accords, the territory was partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania in 1976, with Morocco acquiring northern two-thirds. Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979, with Morocco moving to take control of that sector shortly thereafter and has since asserted administrative control over the majority of the territory. The Polisario front's SADR claims to administer a portion to the east of the Moroccan defence wall. The Polisario's government-in-exile was seated as member of the Organisation of African Unity in 1984, and was a founding member of the African Union[citation needed]. Guerrilla activities continued until a United Nations-monitored cease-fire was implemented September 6, 1991 via the mission MINURSO. The mission patrols the separation line between the two territories (maps: [1], [2], [3]).

In 2001, The UN's envoy to the territory, James Baker, presented a third way option to solve the conflict, known as the Framework Agreement or Baker plan I, consisting in a devolution of the Moroccan state of many of its prerogatives to an autonomous Western Sahara within Moroccan sovereignty. Morocco accepted the plan, while Algeria and the Polisario Front rejected it. Algeria proposed a partition of the territory instead[4].

In 2003, James Baker, presented the Baker Plan II, which would have given Western Sahara immediate autonomy as the Western Sahara Authority during a five-year transition period to prepare for a referendum, offering the inhabitants of the territory a choice between independence, autonomy within the Kingdom of Morocco, or complete integration with Morocco. Polisario has accepted the plan, but Morocco has rejected it.

Executive branch[edit]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Mohamed Abdelaziz Polisario Front 30 August 1976
Prime Minister Abdelkader Taleb Omar Polisario Front 29 October 2003

Legislative branch[edit]

The Sahrawi National Council (Consejo Nacional Saharaui) is the legislature of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic government in exile. It has 53 members, elected for a two-year term in 11 constituencies.


The Sahrawi population in the refugee camps in Algeria as well as in the Free Zone participates in elections to the institutions of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The most recent election for the Sahrawi National Council took place between 17 February and 19 February 2008. A referendum on independence or integration with Morocco was agreed upon by Morocco and the Sahrawi republic in 1991, but did not take place due to the parties' divergence on who should be allowed to vote.

See also[edit]