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.
Data as of December 1993