Executive: Presidential System

Executive: Presidential System

Constitutional provisions have historically concentrated almost all major powers of the state in the hands of the executive. The original constitution specified more than twenty powers over which the president had sole authority. Leadership qualities of the individual presidents have augmented these constitutional prerogatives and facilitated the development of an essentially authoritarian system. In 1989 the new constitution created a "state of law," relying on a strong executive capable of implementing the political liberalization necessary to democratize Algeria.

The greatest beneficiary of the constitutional revisions was the office of president. The 1989 constitution further strengthened the presidential system at the expense of both the party and the army. As head of state, head of the High Judicial Council, commander in chief of the armed forces, and chairman of all legislative meetings, the president has effective control over all state institutions. The president appoints and dismisses the prime minister and all other nonelected civilian and military officials. The APN votes on the president's choice, but if the president's nominations are rejected twice, the assembly is dissolved. The actions of the prime minister become the responsibility of the APN although they may not have been validated by it. Only the president can initiate constitutional amendments. The president may bypass the APN by submitting legislation of "national importance" directly to a national referendum. In fact, Benjedid's third term in office consisted largely of legislation issued through his Council of Ministers, essentially rule by decree.

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