Monday, 9 May 2011

Algeria: Top-down reform

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced on Monday 2nd May that he would be appointing a committee, under the chairmanship of Abdelkader Bensalah, speaker of the Nation Council (Senate), to conduct consultations with political parties and national figures and to draft constitutional amendments.

In a speech to the Council of Ministers, Bouteflika said: "Concerning the draft revision of the constitution, I'm due to assign a competent committee to be in charge of this mission, while political parties and personalities can submit their propositions and contributions on the matter to this committee."

According to Bouteflika's modus operandi for the committee, it will present him with a draft constitutional revision, with the final version being submitted to parliament. “In case the draft carries [major] amendments, it will be referred to [a] popular referendum …, in addition to being submitted to parliament," he said.

This was the clearest assertion yet, that whatever amendments to the constitution were to be made, they would be 'top down' . The fact that Bouteflika himself is appointing the committee flies in the face of the widespread national demand that there be a popularly elected Council of State to decide such issues.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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