Algerian Constitution of 1996
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The Algerian constitution was amended in 1996 to address years of sectarian strife. This violence started in January 1991, when Muslim groups began violently protesting in response to the cancellation of the first ever multiparty election of Algeria by the military junta, where the Islamic Salvation Front was expected to come out victorious. The Algerian military declared a state of emergency and adopted a "transitional rule" for the next few years. While violence had been simmering from January 1991 to the summer of 1995, Islamist groups started more actively fighting with the Algerian military in response to multiparty elections announced in November 1995. This clash led to the opposition parties of Algeria boycotting the election and assuring the election of Liamine Zeroual, the incumbent. Seeking to address the political conflict in Algeria, newly-elected President Zeroual announced on 5 May 1996 that he would put in place a three-part plan to reform the Algerian Constitution and restore order to Algeria. These three parts were: generating nationwide interest and ideas through a conference in the summer of 1996, holding a referendum on the results of the conference at the end of 1996, and holding elections for the Algerian legislature in 1997. The referendum passed the new constitution on 28 November 1996, although opposition parties claimed a fraudulent election. While violence continued after the ratification of the new constitution, the Algerian economy improved and the World Bank loaned the Algerian government $656 million in 1997. The new constitution changed the form of the legislature to a bicameral system, banned political parties based on religion, gave more powers to the president, imposed presidential term limits of two terms lasting five years, and included Islam as the official religion of Algeria.
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