Monday, 17 October 2011

Algeria: Constitutional problems

President Abselaziz Bouteflika's absence has given rise to a number of constitutional problems. One of these is that he has been unable to appoint a new president of the Conseil constitutionnel algérien (Constitutional Council), following the expiry of the mandate of the octogenarian Boualem Bessaih.

A second problem centres on his immediate replacement if Bouteflika were to die or be removed from office under Clause 88 of the Constitution. In such an eventuality the leader of the Senate takes over temporarily as president. Abdelkader Bensalah is an Algerian by naturalisation and not by birth, however, and is therefore constitutionally unable to take the office of president.

It was earlier announced that Bensalah, who had been appointed by Bouteflika in May to head his constitutional reform committee, was to step down and be replaced as leader of the Senate. Bensalah was to take over as chairman of the Constitutional Council following the expiry of Bessaih's mandate. He was being strongly tipped at that time to be replaced as leader/speaker of the Senate by Abderrazak Bouhara.

When we reported these changes in August, it was anticipated that they would come into effect around the end of September. One consequence of Bouteflika's ill health is that these appointments may not have come into effect. The opinion of our sources is that they have not yet done so. If this is the case then the country could be faced with something of a constitutional problem.

A third problem, although one with less serious consequences, is that Bouteflika, in his capacity as President of the Judicial System, has not been able to start the 'judicial year', which, in terms of the constitution, should have been done about three weeks ago.

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

© 2011 Menas Associates

No comments:

Post a Comment