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Algeria to hold early legislative elections following constitutional reform: Tebboune Open in fullscreen

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Algeria to hold early legislative elections following constitutional reform: Tebboune

Tebboune made the announcement on state television [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 September, 2020

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Abdelmajid Tebboune on Sunday said early legislative elections will be held after the scheduled November 1 constitutional reforms.
Algeria’s leader on Sunday announced his country would hold early legislative elections after a referendum on a new constitution.

Abdelmajid Tebboune made the comments on an interview with state television, though he fell short of providing a date for the move.

Algerians across the country are expected to vote on constitutional amendments on November 1, including granting more freedoms as well as greater roles for the parliament the and prime minister.

Tebboune, who was elected to the post in December, pledged to implement political and economic reforms to quell concerns raised during mass protests that ousted former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019.

Earlier this month, Algeria's parliament adopted draft constitutional reforms.

In a show of hands, the amended constitution was approved by 256 of the 462 members present in the People's National Assembly, said speaker Slimane Chenine.

"The proposal is fully in line with the requirements of modern state building and responds to the demands of the popular movement (Hirak)," Tebboune said on Sunday after the government gave the reforms the green light.

The government pledged the reforms would bring a "radical change in the system of governance", prevent corruption and enshrine social justice and press freedoms in the constitution.

The revision also sets out to reinforce the "principle of separation of powers, ethics in political life and transparency in the management of public funds," so as to "spare the country any drift toward tyrannical despotism", it added.

Tebboune had promised to press for reforms during elections late last year after the resignation of longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika under pressure from the Hirak movement, which widely rebuffed the polls.

Algeria's constitution has been modified several times since independence and was tailored to Bouteflika, who gained unlimited powers of appointment for top official positions.

Since Bouteflika's resignation in April last year, the judiciary has handed down heavy prison sentences against former officials and influential businessmen once close to him, mostly on charges of corruption or nepotism.

But since the weekly Hirak movement protests were halted in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, political opponents, independent media and activists have also been targets of a crackdown.

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The revised constitution has already been criticised by jurists and rejected by a group of parties and associations linked to Hirak, which has slammed it as a "laboratory constitution" and described the referendum as "treachery".

A presidency statement published onto the official government account on Facebook on Saturday said Tebboune assigned a committee to prepare a draft review of the country’s election law.

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