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Algeria to hold constitutional referendum

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Algeria to hold constitutional referendum

Algerian referendum
Photo: Mohamed Messara/ EFE

Algeria will hold a constitutional referendum today.

The amendments that voters will consider represent an olive branch extended to the Hirak protesters—the movement that forced the resignation of long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019— by the new government of President Abdelmajid Tebboune. The 73 proposed amendments include the creation of a vice presidential position, a 30-day limit on state of emergency declarations, and allowing the army to be deployed outside of Algeria. However, the government has not allowed any public debate on the amendments and protesters are calling for a boycott. They have been critical of the government’s top-down approach to drafting the amendments and lack of transparency during the process.

While the amendments will likely pass, turnout is unlikely to be high enough to provide them or the government with any legitimacy. The amendments as presented do not meet the Hirak’s demands for more civil and political rights and will not stop calls for largescale political reform. In the short-to-medium-term, expect Algerians to continue to protest and for the government to possibly increase crackdowns after the vote.

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