What to expect from the Algerian constitutional referendum

People walk past campaign billboards ahead of the upcoming constitutional referendum on a street in Algiers, Algeria, October 22, 2020.

(RYAD KRAMDI / AFP via Getty Images)

The small revisions proposed in Algeria’s November 1 constitutional referendum are unlikely to motivate enough Algerians to vote against the changes. But while they are likely to be adopted, the amendments nonetheless remain controversial among activists and protesters across the country, pointing to further unrest. After months of consultations with constitutionalists and political parties following the resignation of longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April 2019, the Algerian government is holding a final vote on amendments that would see a slight expansion of executive power and more great politicization of the military, as well as ensuring additional protections around civil liberties such as voting and learning in the local Amazigh language. Changing the constitution has been one of the main objectives of President Abdelmajid Tebboune’s new government since its election in December 2019 after Bouteflika’s overthrow through popular protests. Constitutional reforms have also been at the heart of the Hirak anti-corruption protest movement,…

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