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Politics of Algeria
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Politics of Algeria

A decade of terrorist violence in Algeria has resulted in more than 100,000 deaths since 1991. Although the security situation in the country has improved, addressing the underlying issues which brought about the political turmoil of the 1990s remain the government's major task. 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. Legislative elections are planned for Spring 2002. 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.

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.

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.

Government

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." The head of state is the President of the republic, who is elected to a 5-year term, renewable once. 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.

The Algerian parliament is bicameral, consisting of a lower chamber, the National People's Assembly (APN), with 380 members and an upper chamber, the Council of Nation, with 144 members. The APN is elected every 5 years. The next round of legislative elections are scheduled to take place in 2002. Two-thirds of the Council of the Nation are elected by regional and municipal authorities; the rest are appointed by the President. The Council of the Nation serves a 6-year term with one-half of the seats up for election or reappointment every 3 years. Either the President or one of the parliamentary chambers may initiate legislation. Legislation must be brought before both chambers before it becomes law. Sessions of the APN are televised.

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

Country name:
conventional long form: Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria
conventional short form: Algeria
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Jaza'iriyah ad Dimuqratiyah ash Shabiyah (Arabic: الجمهوريّة الجزائريّة الدّيمقراطيّة الشّعبيّة)
local short form: Al Jaza'ir (Arabic: الجزائر)

Data code: AG

Government type: republic

Capital: Algiers (Arabic: مدينة الجزائر)

Administrative divisions: 48 provinces (wilayas, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Ain Defla, Ain Temouchent, Alger, Annaba, Batna, Bechar, Bejaia, Biskra, Blida, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Bouira, Boumerdes, Chlef, Constantine, Djelfa, El Bayadh, El Oued, El Tarf, Ghardaia, Guelma, Illizi, Jijel, Khenchela, Laghouat, Mascara, Medea, Mila, Mostaganem, M'Sila, Naama, Oran, Ouargla, Oum el Bouaghi, Relizane, Saida, Setif, Sidi Bel Abbes, Skikda, Souk Ahras, Tamanghasset, Tebessa, Tiaret, Tindouf, Tipaza, Tissemsilt, Tizi Ouzou, Tlemcen

Independence: July 5, 1962 (from France)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Revolution, 1 November (1954)

Constitution: 19 November 1976, effective 22 November 1976; revised 3 November 1988, 23 February 1989, and 28 November 1996;
note - referendum approving the revisions of 28 November 1996 was signed into law 7 December 1996

Legal system: socialist, based on French and Islamic law; judicial review of legislative acts in ad hoc Constitutional Council composed of various public officials, including several Supreme Court justices; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (عبد العزيز بوتفليقة) (since 28 April 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia (since 5 May 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 15 April 1999 (next to be held NA April 2004); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA elected president; percent of vote - Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA 70%; note - six of the seven candidates withdrew sighting persistent electoral fraud

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the National People's Assembly or Al-Majlis Ech-Chaabi Al-Watani (380 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the Council of Nations (144 seats; one-third of the members appointed by the president, two-thirds elected by indirect vote; members serve six-year terms; created as a result of the constitutional revision of November 1996)
elections: National People's Assembly - last held 5 June 1997 (next to be held NA 2001); elections for two-thirds of the Council of Nations - last held 25 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2003) election results: National People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - RND 40.8%, MSP 18.2%, FLN 16.8%, Nahda Movement 8.9%, FFS 5%, RCD 5%, PT 1.1%, Republican Progressive Party 0.8%, Union for Democracy and Freedoms 0.3%, Liberal Social Party 0.3%, independents 2.8%; seats by party - RND 156, MSP 69, FLN 62, Nahda Movement 34, FFS 20, RCD 19, PT 4, Republican Progressive Party 3, Union for Democracy and Freedoms 1, Liberal Social Party 1, independents 11; Council of Nations - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - RND 80, FLN 10, FFS 4, MSP 2 (remaining 48 seats appointed by the president, party breakdown NA)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders: (see List of political parties in Algeria) Algerian Democratic Front or FAD [Sid-Ahmed GHOZALI]; Algerian National Front or ANF [Moussa TOUATI]; Algerian Renewal Party or PRA [Noureddine BOUKROUH, chairman]; Democratic National Rally or RND [Ahmed OUYAHIA, chairman]; Islamic Salvation Front or FIS (outlawed April 1992) [Ali BELHADJ, Dr. Abassi MADANI, Rabeh KEBIR (self-exile in Germany)]; Liberal Social Party [Ahmed KHELIL]; Movement for Democracy in Algeria or MDA [Ahmed Ben BELLA]; Movement for Loyalty and Justice [Ahmed Taleb IBRAHIMI, president; Movement of a Peaceful Society or MSP [Mahfoud NAHNAH, chairman]; Nahda Movement or Al Nahda [Abdallah DJABALLAH, president]; National Liberation Front or FLN [Boualem BENHAMOUDA, secretary general]; National Party for Solidarity and Development or PNSD [Rabah BENCHERIF]; National Republican Alliance or ANR [Redha MALEK]; Rally for Culture and Democracy or RCD [Said SAADI, secretary general]; Republican Progressive Party [Khadir DRISS]; Social Democratic Movement or MDS [Hachemi CHERIF]; Socialist Forces Front or FFS [Hocine Ait AHMED, secretary general (self-exile in Switzerland)]; Union for Democracy and Freedoms [Mouley BOUKHALAFA]; Workers Party or PT [Louisa HANOUN]
note: the government established a multiparty system in September 1989 and, as of 31 December 1990, over 50 legal parties existed; a new party law was enacted in March 1997

International organization participation: ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU, CCC, 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), OAU, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Flag description: two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and white with a red, five-pointed star within a red crescent; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam (the state religion)

Reference

Much of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.