Algeria sets date for referendum on new constitution

Algeria sets date for referendum on new constitution
Algeria's president has set the constitutional changes set to be voted on in November will reduce his authority, but demonstrators have called for deeper reforms.
2 min read
President Tebboune came to power last year in a much-protested election [Getty]
Algeria will hold a promised referendum on a revised constitution on November 1, the office of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced on Monday evening. 

After "consultations with the parties concerned, it was decided to set the date of 1 November 2020 for the holding of the referendum on the draft revision of the Constitution", the presidency said.

That date also marks the anniversary of the start of Algeria's 1954-1962 war for independence from France.

Tebboune came to power in a presidential election last December after an unprecedented months-long protest movement that had forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign the previous April.

Even official figures put turnout in the poll at less than 40 percent.

The demonstrations only petered amid the social distancing necessitated by the coronavirus early this year. 

Tebboune, formerly a prime minister under Bouteflika, has since taking office sought a constitutional referendum, ostensibly as an answer to the popular protest movement. 

He has said a new constitution would reduce the authority of the president and "guarantee the separation and balance of powers".

Demonstrators however rejected his call for dialogue, insisting on demands for deeper reforms in the North African country.

The country's constitution has been amended several times since independence from France, and during the two-decade Bouteflika era it had been tailored for the deposed leader's requirements.

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