ALGIERS – The five candidates standing for the December 12 Presidential election outlined, on Friday, the most important political reforms and the mechanisms for strengthening freedoms proposed in their electoral platforms, agreeing on the need to change the current Constitution which “has several shortcomings.”
During the televised debate organized by the National Independent Authority for Elections (ANIE) at the International Conference Center (CIC) in Algiers, the candidates for the Highest Office in the State respectively took the floor according to the draw for the occasion.
They answered questions relating to the political aspect, namely the draft revision of the Constitution, the consolidation of political life and the strengthening of individual and collective freedoms and new mechanisms to ensure fair and free elections.
Candidate Abdelaziz Belaid (el Moustakbel Front party) affirmed that all the Constitutions of Algeria “suited the presidents”, calling for the adoption of “a Constitution that suits the people.”
He pledged to engage “an inclusive national debate with the experts and the political class” and to “organize a national referendum in order to reach a constitution that suits the Algerian people.”
With regard to the new mechanisms guaranteeing fair elections, Belaïd described the creation of the National Independent Authority for Elections (ANIE) as “a positive step forward, but which remains insufficient, given the persistence of certain practices marked by obsolete mentalities”.
Independent candidate Tebboune said as for him that “the first step in the change lies in amending the current Constitution, which proved its ineffectiveness and being inappropriate for the current stage.” He urged for the adoption of a new Constitution which would “really separate the prerogatives of State institutions and reinforce control to end eras of single decision-making circle power.”
The change in political life is materializing, he added, through “the renewal of laws, chiefly the law on elections in order to elect honest officials, without using dirty money tarnishing the image of the elections,” before affirming that “the framework of the political action must emanate essentially from the parties and the civil society.”
The president of Talaie El Houriyat party, candidate Ali Benflis proposes “a new Constitution which would be drafted on the basis of large consultations that do not exclude any party.” Such constitution would lay the foundations for a semi-presidential system guaranteeing the distribution of prerogatives within the executive power between the President of the Republic and the head of government, chosen by the parliamentary majority.”
In his electoral platform, he proposes the establishment of a “sovereign parliament that takes into consideration the opposition, and dedicates a real separation between the powers,” he explained.
For the candidate, “there are two things that have distorted the political life: personalization of power and dirty money,” calling for “passing a law separating money from political practice for to guarantee a healthy political act.”
The candidate of the National Democratic Rally party Azzedine Mihoubi pledges to work with “the partners of the political scene to elaborate a judicious Constitution that will strengthen popular sovereignty and establish a Republic of Institutions likely to balance between different powers and avoid all overlap between their prerogatives.”
Referring to political life, the acting Secretary General of the RND party criticized “the lack of interest of citizens in politics because of the degradation of political parties, transformed into bases serving dirty money and favoritism,” calling for “reviewing the partisan structure and rebuilding the political scene to restore trust between the citizen and the institutions through the revision of the legal system of parties, elections and associations”.
The same candidate pleaded for “the consecration of individual and collective freedoms in the fields of expression, innovation, reflection, information …”, pledging to “strengthen free activity in civil society, to extend freedoms in all areas and to always listen to the people.”
Finally, the candidate Abdelkader Bengrina believes that the amendment of the Constitution must be based on the 1 November statement and 22 February popular movement, through the organization of a referendum and the opening of an inclusive social dialogue to achieve a charter that lays the foundation for a semi-presidential regime and a parliament that exercises sovereign control, and members of the government chosen from the parliamentary majority “.
A new Constitution that “consecrates individual and collective freedoms and establishes a balance between powers,” he continued.
The president of the El-Bina movement party pledges that the Parliament brings together independent parties far from the regionalist spirit, promising to grant a seat to the opposition in order to perform its role properly.
Bengrina also promised “the consecration of individual freedoms in the associative movement, media, media and human rights.”