Strongly contested by the street, President Bouteflika has decided to con the Algerian people by overriding the provisions of the Constitution to cancel the presidential election of April 2019 and offer himself an extended mandate. A real coup against the fundamental law of the country, which he publicly swore to respect.
The postponement of the election and the extension of the presidential term are provided for only in the case of a state of war, as per articles 109 and 110 of the Constitution.
Algeria is not in a state of war, but this is likely to change if the regime loses its grip on power, which could lead it to enact martial law to cling on to power indefinitely. A possibility warned against by a number of political analysts that could push Algeria into unchartered territory.
The Bouteflika clan’s decision that “there will be no presidential election” has no legal basis, and so is the unconstitutional decision made to create the role of Deputy Prime Minister, entrusted to Ramtane Lamamra.
Article 97 of the previous Constitution sets amongst the prerogatives of the President “the power to appoint one or more deputy prime ministers to assist the prime minister in the performance of his duties“. However, since the amendment of 2016, article 97 can no longer be referred to. As such, the role of Deputy Prime Minister is simply unlawful.
The President put the Constitution in brackets, which in essence is a coup d’état, as well as an institutional coup. However, this did not make the Constitutional Council intervene, which, according to article 182 of the ‘fundamental law’ has the duty of “ensuring the respect of the Constitution“.