Algerian Legislature

History and Tasks
PUIC Bulletin No.10 Winter 2012

020 for websiteFirst November 1954 Declaration, which was tantamount to a constitution specifying the features of the contemporary Algerian State, made it possible for the Algerian Legislation to keep abreast of the modern age for a period of 55 years along various tracks. From different circumstances legal rules are derived that emanate from society and that govern the society according to the specificities of every historical phase.
The victorious war of liberation spanned the period 1954- 1962 and was valiantly fought by the Algerian people who offered one and a half million martyrs. This is an addition to the sacrifices made during uprisings and confrontations from 1830 to 1954. Algeria experienced 132 years of control under brutal colonialism which ruled country and people in accordance with special legal texts.
Rejecting those unjust texts and seeking to enact alternative national laws that derive their spirit from the cultural and civilizational components of the Algerian society, the National Assembly of the Revolution, which was born in 1956 out of the first conference of the revolution known as the “Swam Conference”, assumed the tasks of preparing and applying national laws.
With the realization of independence and recovering national sovereignty from the barbaric French colonialism in 1962, a First Constituent National Council was established and was tasked with preparing a constitution and forming a government instead of the provisional government of 1958.
However, the “Coup d’etat”, “movement” or “uprising” of 19 June 1965 resulted in freezing the constitution and dissolving the first legislative Council in the history of independent Algeria. Instead a revolutionary Council of veteran army officers, numbering more than twenty members, was installed called the “Revolutionary Council”.
Since that date, revolutionary legitimacy prevailed in the country. For 12 years it performed the task of legislation instead of the People’s Legitimacy. On 19 November 1976, the constitution was amended. It stipulated for the creation of a National People’s Assembly to which members are elected in direct elections with secret ballots in 1977. The Assembly was for a 5 years term.
The National People’s Assembly “Parliament” continued, under a totalitarian (socialist) political regime, to exercise its legislative functions, as a state organ, for three consecutive legislative terms (15 years), until carrying out referendum on the constitution of 23/2/1989 which established an open democratic multi-party system.
This approved separation of powers in its current semi-presidential democratic form. The first direct, secret and multi-party legislative elections took place in two phases in 1991. As a constitutional institution, the Supreme Security Council, composed of the prime minister, minister of the interior, minister of justice, minister of national defence, minister of foreign affairs and the chief of staff of the People’s National Army, announced on 14/1/1992 the formation of a Supreme State Council composed of five members.
The Council was to complete the presidential mandate for the term 1988-1993. The Council enjoyed all the powers and competences conferred by the constitution on the President of the Republic.
The term of office of the Supreme State Council was to coincide with the end of the presidential term resulting from the elections of December 1988 i.e. the end of the year 1993. The period was adequate for ensuring the conditions necessary for the normal functioning of the constitutional institutions and system.
Due to the necessity of having a consultative legislative body to help in carrying out its tasks, the National Consultative Council was appointed which assumed a consultative task by expressing its opinion on the texts submitted to it in the form of “Legislative Decrees”.
The Supreme State Council organized in January 1994 a national symposium called the symposium of National Conciliation which brought together the various active forces in the country. The symposium resulted in groundwork for national conciliation. It was decided to establish a legislature composed of 178 members instead of 200. The Legislature was called the “Transitional National Assembly with a maximum term of three years.” It represented the state and thirty political parties as well as various socio-economic forces. The Assembly performed the legislative task through decrees or the initiative of two thirds of the members. In the same period and before the end of the transitional phase (1994-1997), the first multi-party presidential elections were organized on 16/11/1995, in which four candidates took part. Then the constitution of 1989 was amended through a popular referendum on 28/11/1996. This amendment consolidated the two houses system: The National People’s Assembly and Council of the Nation. By the end of the transitional period, and following the constitutional amendment of 1996, the organic elections law and the political parties law were also amended from ordinary law to the level of organic law, the elections for the first pluralistic National People’s Assembly took place. The 489 member Assembly of 1997 was to cover the fourth legislative term while the first, second and third terms took place during the unicameral time.
According to the same constitution of 1996, the Upper House (Council of the Nation) was formed for the first time in the history of the country. Under the same constitution the fifth-term election for the National People’s Assembly (2002-2007) were organized as well as the current six-term elections (2007-2012). Pursuant to the rules of the constitution, the Algerian Parliament is now performing both tasks of legislation and control of government work, as well as discussing government programmes, questioning the government and approving the general budget, following the transfer from uniparty to multiparty system and bicameral parliament.
Al Ayashi Daadoua, Algerian MP, Member of PUIC Executive Committee