London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has announced a series of proposed amendments to the constitution to be considered at a national conference in June, in a move seen as an attempt to appease a growing but still divided opposition movement.
The amendments, which were released by the website of the Algerian presidency on Friday after having been circulated to Algerian political leaders on Thursday, were proposed by a special commission set up by Bouteflika in April under the leadership of former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia.
Perhaps most controversial is the suggested reintroduction of a two-term limit for presidents. Bouteflika was elected to a fourth term as president in April, after having twice amended the constitution to remove term limits.
But the 47 proposed changes include a ban on politicians changing their political affiliations while in office, as well as several rewordings of clauses on human rights, notably the strengthening of press freedoms.
The amendments are designed to “reinforce the separation of powers, strengthen the independence of the judiciary and the role of Parliament and to affirm the rights of the [political] opposition and the rights and liberties of citizens,” Ouyahia said in comments carried by the state Algerian Press Service on Friday.
Political parties will debate the proposed amendments at a conference planned for June, after which they will likely go to a public referendum.