ALGERIA TO HOLD CONSTITUTION REFERENDUM ON NOVEMBER 1

Algeria has set November 1 as the date for a referendum on a new constitution.

The date was announced after President Abdelmadjid Tebboune met the head of the election authority Mohamed Chorfi on Monday, the office of president said in a statement.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune

The new constitution, aimed at boosting democracy, will also give the prime minister and parliament more powers to govern the North African country of 45 million people, a draft released earlier this year showed.

The government has said the draft, which kept presidential terms limited to two mandates, would be submitted to parliament for debate and approval before a referendum.

Algeria’s constitution has been amended several times since independence from France. During the 20-year rule of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, it was tailored for the deposed leader’s requirements.

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Mass protests broke out in February last year to reject Bouteflika’s plan to seek a fifth term, and demand the departure of the old guard as well as the prosecution of people involved in corruption.

Several senior officials, including two former prime ministers, several ministers and prominent businessmen, have been jailed since then over corruption charges.

Elected last December, President Tebboune has repeatedly pledged to introduce political and economic reforms and to meet demands raised in demonstrations that toppled Bouteflika in April last year.

President Tebboune has said a new constitution would reduce the authority of the president and “guarantee the separation and balance of powers”.

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