Algeria to hold referendum on constitution on November 1

ALGERIA has set November 1 as a date for a referendum on a new constitution aimed at boosting democracy and giving parliament a greater role, the presidency has announced, after months-long protests demanding reforms.

Elected last December, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has repeatedly pledged to introduce political and economic reforms and to meet demands raised in demonstrations that toppled veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April 2019.

The new constitution would 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.

The referendum date was announced after Tebboune’s meeting with the head of the election authority Mohamed Chorfi earlier on Monday, the presidency said in a statement.

Mass protests broke out in February last year to reject Bouteflika’s plan to seek a fifth term after 20 years in power, 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.

The government banned demonstrations in March this year as part of measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.