Algeria: constitutional reform voted with historic abstention

The reform of the Algerian Constitution was approved with 66.8% of the votes cast while the “no” received 33.20% of the vote, announced on Monday Mohamed Charfi, president of the Independent National Election Authority (ANIE ).

The final turnout stood at 23.7%, an all-time low for a major election. This means that only a fifth of registered voters voted in favor of constitutional reform.

“The conditions in which this referendum was held were a challenge for any political activity of any kind,” explained the president of ANIE, referring to the restrictions linked to the Covid-19 disease. Using the pandemic as a pretext, the government had banned the holding of public meetings, as well as, in March, the “Hirak”. The members of this popular protest movement, rejecting the constitutional revision “in substance and form”, called for a boycott of the ballot.

“Power must take note of its failure”

After the announcement of the results, Saïd Salhi, vice-president of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), hailed “a great victory for Hirak”. “The government must take note of its failure and reconsider its roadmap. The process of constituting democratic transition is the solution, ”he said.

The reform includes in particular the limitation to two terms for parliamentarians, more powers for the Prime Minister and the Parliament, the ban on prior control of press freedom, and the limitation of presidential terms.

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