Constitution and political system
Since independence in 1962, Algeria has been a presidential republic. The Constitution was passed in a referendum in 1996. Following this, Islam is state religion, and Arabic and Berber identity are the basic components of the Algerian population, but no political party can be built on an ethnic, linguistic, religious or regional platform. The provisions of the Constitution are intended to prevent what was about to happen in 1991, when the Islamists won the election (which was subsequently canceled). Since 1991, political tension and violence have dominated Algerian politics.
Until 1989, the National Liberation Front (FLN) was the state-only and only permitted party. When a sort of multi-party system was introduced and the Islamists won the December 1991 election very clearly, the old rulers set aside democracy. Thereafter, for almost 10 years, Algeria was ruled by a supreme security council and under this a supreme prime minister and a government appointed by the prime minister. The first presidential election after the new constitution was held in 1999, when all the counter-candidates to President Bouteflika eventually withdrew.
The president is elected by the constitution in direct elections for five years, with the possibility of re-election once. The president appoints the prime minister and is also responsible for foreign policy. Parliament has two chambers. The National Legislative Assembly has 389 members who are elected in the general election for five years. The National Council has 144 members and sits for six years; half are elected every three years. In the National Council there are 96 representatives of the districts and 48 members appointed by the president. At the 2007 election, FLN received 199 of the 136 seats in the National Assembly.
Administratively, Algeria is divided into 48 ministries (wilayat), which is again divided into municipalities. Each of these entities has an elected assembly under the Constitution.
The Constitution contains the principles of the rule of law, but at the same time it has a provision that it should be a supreme magistrate’s court with the president as chairman and the minister of justice as vice chairman. There is also a Supreme Court, which can convict the President on high treason cases. The legislation is based partly on French examples and partly on Islamic law.
Algeria’s international relations
Algeria is a member of The UN and most of the UN’s special organizations, including World Bank; Organization of African Unity, Arab League and OPEC.
Algeria is represented in Norway by ambassador residing in Stockholm and chargé d’affaires in Oslo, while Norway is represented with embassy in Alger.