Algerians Cast Votes in Constitutional Referendum
Algerians went to the polls on Sunday to vote on a revised constitution. The revisions include changes aimed at strengthening democracy, such as presidential and parliamentary term-limits. There is also a provision enabling Algerian military forces to deploy abroad in peacekeeping roles with the United Nations or the African Union. Opponents of the revisions, who have not been allowed to campaign in public, called for a boycott of the referendum because, in their eyes, the new elements are not democratic enough in that they do not open ample opportunities for younger leaders. Similarly, Islamist parties boycotted the vote because the new provisions do not provide enough support for Islam or the Arab language. They also oppose a section on religious freedom. Algeria’s president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, 74, who pushed for the new constitution, is currently hospitalized in Germany. Officials in his administration are thought to have coronavirus symptoms.