Algerian lawmakers pass reforms boosting parliament's powers

Algeria's parliament approves new reforms such as limiting presidents to two terms and officially recognising the language used by its Berber minority

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A general view of the upper parliament chamber is pictured in Algiers, Algeria February 2, 2016.

Algerian lawmakers approved constitutional reforms on Sunday proposed by President Abdelziz Bouteflika, including reinstating a two-term limit for the presidency and expanding parliament's powers.

The new text is being presented on Sunday to the assembly and the senate. It was promised by 79-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his government following the 2011 "Arab Spring" uprisings in neighbouring countries.

However, opposition leaders dismissed the changes as superficial.

The reform package limits presidents to two five-year terms. The long-ailing Bouteflika was re-elected for a fourth term in 2014.

The charter would also require a parliamentary majority to name a prime minister, who is now appointed by the president.

It includes Amazigh as an official language in a move hailed by activists, who had pushed for recognition for years.

Arabic would remain the official government language.

Bouteflika's allies have the majority in the two chambers, though several opposition parties boycotted the vote. Approval of the reforms will likely prompt the naming of a new cabinet by Bouteflika, who has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013 despite re-election in 2014 to a fourth term. 

TRTWorld and agencies