Form of government and constitution
The 1996 constitution defines Algeria as a presidential republic. The president is elected directly by the people every five years and heads the country. The President of the Republic can be re-elected. He is the head of state, commander in chief of the army and responsible for national security. The President of the Republic must be an Algerian citizen, Muslim and over 40 years of age.
The chief executive, the prime minister, is appointed by him and is responsible to him.
The parliament, the National People’s Assembly (Assemblé Nationale) exercises legislative power and has 389 members. It is elected for five years.
The 1996 constitution provides that the members of the National People’s Assembly are elected for a term of five years in general, direct and secret ballot based on proportional representation.
There is also a Senate or Council of the Nation (Conseil de la Nation) as the second chamber. One-third of its members are appointed by the President, the remaining two-thirds by representatives of the local assemblies (ward and district councils) within each Wilaya (each district) by indirect general election with a relative majority.
The term of office of the Council of the Nation is six years, with half of its members being replaced every three years.
The Council of the Nation exercises legislative power together with the National People’s Assembly. In this capacity, it passes the laws with a Mehrheit majority of its members. It only deals with the legal texts that have already been passed by the National People’s Assembly, but does not have any power to amend them. In the event of a disagreement between the National People’s Assembly and the Council of the Nation, an ad hoc committee with equal representation is set up, which has the task of submitting an amended legal text without the possibility of amendment requiring the approval of both chambers.
The Constitutional Council only partially corresponds to the German Constitutional Court, as it cannot be appealed to directly; this is reserved for the President of the Republic, the President of the National People’s Assembly or the President of the Council of the Nation. The 9 members of the Constitutional Council are determined by the other constitutional organs according to a fixed key.
Formal state structure
According to computerannals, the country’s administrative structure is centralized. The country is divided into 48 administrative districts, ” Wilayate “. These provinces are administered by a popular assembly “Assemblée Populaire de Wilaya” (APW), which is composed of 35 to 55 members elected for four years. Each province is headed by a governor (wali) appointed by the president of the republic and assisted by an executive council. The Wali reports directly to the central government. The governorate of Algiers has been divided into 28 districts since 1997 and comprises 24 municipalities.
Municipalities: Each municipality is governed by a popular assembly “Assemblée Populaire Communale” (APC) elected for four years. The APC, consisting of 10 to 18 members, is responsible for local administration as well as for economy, finance and culture. The APC elects a local executive council and its president. Like the other council members, he is responsible to the Ministry of the Interior.
After independence, the judiciary was initially only perceived as a servant of the socialist revolution, but after several changes since 1989, the Algerian constitution provides for an independent judiciary based on the French model. In practice, however, the influence of the executive is very great, since the members of the Supreme Constitutional Council are appointed either by the President or by high-ranking bodies.
In criminal and civil law, the Ministry of Justice and the President of the Republic decide on the advancement of judges and public prosecutors through advisory bodies that are dependent on instructions. The judiciary can thus be put under pressure, especially in cases where political decision-makers are concerned and is de facto subordinate to the executive branch. The criminal offense of “defamation” leads to numerous indictments by the state prosecution authorities and hangs as a threat over journalists and anyone who expresses themselves publicly.
In commercial law, the dependence on politics leads to the incoherent application of anti-corruption legislation, since here too the judiciary can be put under pressure.
Law, order, state security
The state security forces can be divided into national police, gendarmerie, army and customs.
- The national police DGSN , under the Ministry of the Interior, was greatly expanded and expanded in the 1990’s by its then president, Ali Tounsi, from 100,000 to 200,000 people, including many women. Your tasks are to ensure local security. It is very present in the blue uniforms and can be seen everywhere in the cities.
- The national gendarmerie is made up of around 180,000 people who are supposed to guarantee security on a supraregional level. It is subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and has numerous special skills and resources, such as helicopters, specialists against cybercrime, explosives specialists, etc. With their black uniforms, they are particularly present outside the cities, for example during the frequent roadblocks on the highways around Algiers.
- The gendarmerie locale was set up in the 1990’s as a kind of vigilante group in order to be able to lead the fight against terrorism in rural areas in a more targeted manner. Today it includes around 60,000 people.
- The ANP (Armée nationale populaire) has had a dominant position since independence and occupied key positions in the state and society. It counts around 120,000 people in ground troops alone and was and is often used in the fight against terrorism. The army has special resources, such as highly qualified military hospitals and social institutions.
- The customs authorities play an important role in a foreign trade-oriented country like Algeria. Around 20,000 people are currently working for Customs, an increase to 30,000 is planned by 2015. Since there are enormous import and export volumes in Algeria, the susceptibility to corruption is high.