Algeria's Parliament Approves New Constitution With Term Limits
Feb 08, 2016 02:58 AM EST
Algerian's parliament approves the proposal of revising their constitution. It aims at reforming the country through limiting the President's term into two terms and recognizing the language used by its Berber minority as official.
The senate and congress saw the presentation of the proposed reform last Sunday. According to Yahoo News, there were 499 lawmakers who voted for the revision and 16 absentations. The 79-year-old Prime Minister Abdelaziz Bouteflika was noted to have promised these reforms after the Arab Spring uprisings in neighboring countries on 2011.
Going back to last January, the Algerian government published two new constitutional reform drafts. This constitutional reform serves as a message to the critics that they are welcoming democracy in the country. Moreover, the plans for constitutional reform include setting up an Algerian Academy of Berber Language which aims to make its status an official tongue. Supporters believe it would put an end to a pointless source of division, giving rise to various political ills in the country, the Guardian News reports.
As reported by ABC News, the new constitution is focused mainly on the president's term and the usage of the mother tongue. The president will now have a two to five-year terms, giving the other aspirants a chance to serve the country. The site highlighted that this limit events like the long-ailing Bouteflika's who was re-elected for a fourth term in 2014. It also requires a parliamentary majority to name a prime minister, who is currently "hand-picked" by the president.
While some opposition parties have voiced doubts regarding the reform, it recieved praises and respect from the activists who have been pushing the reform of the constitution for several years now. It was previously announced by Bouteflika in a forum on 2011. However, Arabic will remain the country's official government language for now.