Politics of Algeria

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Politics of Algeria takes place in a framework of a constitutional presidential republic, whereby the President of Algeria is head of state while the Prime Minister of Algeria is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the People's National Assembly and the Council of the Nation. A legacy of Algeria's bloody War of Independence from France (where an estimated one million and half algerians were killed) is a powerful military and security apparatus that put a high value on secrecy.[1] Since 1988, parties other than the ruling FLN have been allowed and multiparty elections have been held, but freedom of political speech, protest and assembly is circumscribed,[Note 1] and the 2014 presidential election was boycotted by major opposition parties. Algeria has been called a "controlled democracy",[3] or a state where the military and "a select group" of unelected civilians—reportedly known to Algerians as “le pouvoir” (“the power”) -- make major decisions, such as who should be president.[4][5][Note 2]

Since the early 1990s, a shift from a socialist to a free market economy has been ongoing with official support.


The civil war resulted in more than 100,000 deaths since 1991. Although the security situation in the country has greatly improved, addressing the underlying issues which brought about the political turmoil of the 1990s remains the trump government's major task. The government officially lifted the state of emergency declared in 1999.[7]


Under the 1976 Constitution (as modified 1979, and amended in 1988, 1989, and 1996) Algeria is a multi-party state. All parties must be approved by the Ministry of the Interior. To date, Algeria has had more than 40 legal political parties. According to the Constitution, no political association may be formed if it is "based on differences in religion, language, race, gender, or region."

Informal power

While many sources agree that the real power in Algeria is not held by its constitutional organs, they differ as to who/what does. According to the Economist magazine, the military, are major powerbrokers along with "a select group" of unelected civilians. These “décideurs” are reportedly known to Algerians as “le pouvoir” (“the power”), make major decisions, including who should be president.[4] Adam Nossiter of the New York Times states "Algerian politics is still dominated" by men from the ruling party, the FLN,[8] while Moroccan-Italian journalist Anna Mahjar-Barducci, writing in Haaretz, insists the FLN "is a group of apparatchiks constantly fighting each other when they're not tending to the businesses ... with which they have rewarded themselves from their positions of power". According to her real power is held by "the military's Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS)."[9]

Executive branch

The head of state is the President of the republic, who is elected to a 5-year term, renewable once (changed by the 2008 Constitution to an infinite mandate). Algeria has universal suffrage. The President is the head of the Council of Ministers and of the High Security Council. He appoints the Prime Minister who also is the head of government. The Prime Minister appoints the Council of Ministers.

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika National Liberation Front 27 April 1999
Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal National Liberation Front 28 April 2014

Parliament of Algeria

Main article: Parliament of Algeria

People's National Assembly

The People's National Assembly has less power relative to the executive branch than many parliaments and has been described as "rubber-stamping" laws proposed by the president.[10]

As of 2012 there were 462 seats in parliament. In the May 2012 election the government reported a 42.9% turnout, though the BBC reported that correspondents saw "only a trickle of voters" at polling places.[10] In that election 44 political parties participated with the ruling National Liberation Front winning more than any other group—220 seats—and an alliance of moderate Islamists coming in second with 66 seats. The Islamists disputed the results.[11]

Council of the Nation

Main article: Council of the Nation

Political parties and elections

For other political parties, see List of political parties in Algeria. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Algeria.

In keeping with its amended Constitution, the Algerian Government espouses participatory democracy and free-market competition. The government has stated that it will continue to open the political process and encourage the creation of political institutions. More than 40 political parties, representing a wide segment of the population, are currently active in Algerian national politics. The most recent legislative election was 2012. President Bouteflika has pledged to restructure the state as part of his overall reform efforts. However, no specifics are yet available as to how such reforms would affect political structures and the political process itself.

In the 2002 elections, there were 17,951,127 eligible voters, and 8,288,536 of them actually voted which made a turn out of 46.17%. Out of the ballots cast, there were 867,669 void ballots according to the Interior ministry and 7,420,867 which went to the various candidates.

Legislative elections

The most recent legislative election now is the 2012 one:

 Summary of the 10 May 2012 People's National Assembly of Algeria election results
Parties Leader Votes % Seats +/–
National Liberation Front Abdelmalek Sellal 1,324,363 17.35 208 +72
National Rally for Democracy Ahmed Ouyahia 524,057 6.86 68 +7
Green Algeria Alliance (MSPNahdaIslah) Bouguerra Soltani 475,049 6.22 49 –11
Front of Socialist Forces Hocine Aït Ahmed 188,275 2.47 27 +27
Workers' Party Louisa Hanoune 283,585 3.71 24 –2
Algerian National Front Moussa Touati 198,544 2.60 9 –4
Justice and Development Party Abdallah Djaballah 232,676 3.05 8 +8
Algerian Popular Movement Amara Benyounes 165,600 2.17 7 +7
New Dawn Tahar Benbaibeche 132,492 1.74 5 +5
Front of Change Abdelmadjid Mensara 173,981 2.28 4 +4
National Party for Solidarity and Development Dalila Yalaqui 114,372 1.50 4 +2
National Front for Social Justice 140,223 1.84 3 +3
Ahd 54 Ali Fawzi Rebaine 120,201 1.57 3 +1
Union of Democratic and Social Forces 114,481 1.50 3 +3
National Republican Alliance Redha Malek 109,331 1.43 3 –1
Future Front Abdelaziz Belaid 174,708 2.29 2 +2
Dignity Party 129,427 1.70 2 +2
National Movement of Hope 119,253 1.56 2 ±0
Algerian Rally Ali Zaghdoud 117,549 1.54 2 +1
Republican Patriotic Rally 114,651 1.50 2 ±0
Party of Youth Hamana Boucharma 102,663 1.34 2 +2
Algerian Light Party 48,943 0.64 2 +2
Party of Algerian Renewal 111,218 1.46 1 –3
El-Infitah Movement Naima Farhi 116,384 1.52 1 –2
Movement of Free Citizens 115,631 1.51 1 +1
National Front of Independents for Understanding 107,833 1.41 1 –2
National Democratic Front 101,643 1.33 1 ±0
Others 1,306,656 17.12 0 –22
Independents 671,190 8.79 18 –15
Valid votes 7,634,979 100.00
Invalid votes 1,704,047 18.25
Total 9,339,026 100 462
Registered voters/turnout21,645,84143.14
Sources: El Watan, Adam Carr's Election Archive, IPU

Presidential elections

Candidate Party Votes %
Abdelaziz BouteflikaNational Liberation Front8,332,59881.53
Ali BenflisIndependent1,244,91812.18
Abdelaziz BelaidFront for the Future343,6243.36
Louisa HanouneWorkers' Party140,2531.37
Ali Fawzi RebaineAhd 54101,0460.99
Moussa TouatiAlgerian National Front57,5900.56
Invalid/blank votes1,087,449
Registered voters/turnout21,871,39351.70
Source: Interior Ministry

Administrative divisions

Algeria is divided into 48 wilaya (province) headed by walis (governors) who report to the Minister of Interior. Each wilaya is further divided into daïras, themselves divided in communes. The wilayas and communes are each governed by an elected assembly.


Algeria has more than 30 daily newspapers published in French and Arabic, with a total publication run of more than 1.5 million copies. Although relatively free to write as they choose, in 2001, the government amended the penal code provisions relating to defamation and slander, a step widely viewed as an effort to rein in the press. Government monopoly of newsprint and advertising is seen as another means to influence the press, although it has permitted newspapers to create their own printing distribution networks..

See also List of Algerian newspapers.

Future Concerns

Population growth and associated problems—unemployment and underemployment, inability of social services to keep pace with rapid urban migration, inadequate industrial management and productivity, a decaying infrastructure—continue to plague Algerian society. Increases in the production and prices of oil and gas over the past decade have led to a budgetary surplus of close to $20 billion[Citation Needed]. The government began an economic reform program in 1993 which focuses on macroeconomic stability and structural reform. These reforms are aimed at liberalizing the economy, making Algeria competitive in the global market, and meeting the needs of the Algerian people.

International organization participation

AU, ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU, ECA, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, International Maritime Organization, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MONUC, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (applicant)

See also


  1. On March 3, the prosecutor of Oued Essouf’s First Instance Tribunal charged [Rachid] Aouine with “inciting an unarmed gathering” under article 100 of the Algerian penal code. In his Facebook posting, he commented on an official announcement that law enforcement officers who staged protests will face disciplinary action, writing: “Police officers, why don’t you go out today to protest against the arbitrary decisions against your colleagues…, instead of controlling the free activists and the protesters against the shale gas?”[2]
  2. "The Algerian military and security forces, that had stolen power early in the country’s post 1962 independence – and have clung to it until today – prefer to manage affairs and milk the country’s rich energy resources from behind the scenes, giving a democratic gloss to what for half a century has been little other than a military dictatorship."[6]


  1. Kaplan, Robert D. (2007). Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and ... Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 180. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  2. "Algeria: Arrested for Ironic Facebook Post". Human Rights Watch. March 8, 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  3. DAOUD, KAMEL (May 29, 2015). "The Algerian Exception". New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  4. 1 2 Algeria’s election. Still waiting for real democracy economist.com| 12 May 2012
  5. Shatz, Adam (July 3, 2003). "Algeria's Failed Revolution". New York Review of Books. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  6. Prince, Rob (October 16, 2012). "Algerians Shed Few Tears for Deceased President Chadli Bendjedid". FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  7. Chikhi, Lamine (2011-01-21). "Algeria army should quit politics: opposition". Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  8. Algerian Election Results Draw Disbelief By ADAM NOSSITER nyt.com| 11 May 2012
  9. A prolonged state of agony in Algeria writing in June 8, 2012| Haaretz,
  10. 1 2 Algeria votes in parliamentary elections 10 May 2012
  11. Ruling Party Wins Big in Algerian Elections| voanews.com| May 11, 2012
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