Algerians have begun voting in a referendum geared to cement the changes made after long term president Abdelaziz Bouteflika was forced by the citizens to resign last year.
But opposition parties are claiming that the referendum falls short of the fundamental constitutional reform.
The timing of the referendum is also auspicious.
It is billed to take place on the 1st of November, the country aside to symbolize Algeria’s war of independence against France back in 1954.
Also, the referendum is going to take place while the president is out of the country. He was recently flown to Germany for medical treatment. Although the cause of his illness has not been made public, the president did self isolate in a military hospital in the national capital in Algiers. This development comes after several members of his colleagues and aids tested positive for covid-19.
Algerians are voting to create a presidential term limit and to institute a new anti-corruption body.
For a winner to be declared, the YES or NO camp must secure at least 51% of the total votes.
The results are expected to be announced today.
The two main parties in the parliament, the National Liberation Front (FLN) and the National Democratic Rally (RND), both campaigned for a yes vote. They also have support from smaller political parties in the country.
Opposition to the yes vote comes from other bodies across the political spectrum.
Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad said the new constitution “will put our country on the right path after years of deviousness mainly during the recent years under the gang,” referring to Mr. Bouteflika’s ruling clique.
He insisted during the referendum campaign that the constitutional amendments were designed to meet the demands of the Hirak popular movement that “toppled the corrupt regime” and to reinforce the “separation of powers.”