Algeria: Constitutional Council Refuses to Interfere in Parliament Issue

The Constitutional Council cannot intervene in any matter except through the literal implementation of the constitution,….

 

Chairperson of the Algerian Constitutional Council, Mourad Medelci refused to intervene in the parliamentary crisis after the majority of deputies ousted Speaker Said Bouhadja.

The Constitutional Council cannot intervene in any matter except through the literal implementation of the constitution, Medelci affirmed to reporters in response to a question on the Council’s opinion on the ousting of the Speaker, which was described as “illegal”.

According to Algerian constitution, parliamentarians, even if a majority, have no right to disqualify their speaker under any circumstances unless he is found to be physically incapable of performing his legislative duty or was exercising another occupation at the same time.

The law grants the person in question the right to resign, while the “withdrawal of confidence” to establish the vacancy of the post of speaker is not allowed by law.

Medelci briefly discussed the issue of parliament during a conference on “adopting the exception of unconstitutionality.”.

The exception of unconstitutionality conferred on any litigant, natural or legal person the right to contest, before a court, the constitutionality of a legislative provision determining the outcome of the dispute, arguing that it infringes the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

He recalled that the exception of unconstitutionality, provided in article 188 of the Constitution, is one of the “major innovations” of the March 2016 Constitutional Revision.

Bouhadja was overthrown last Wednesday and replaced by Mouad Bouchared, although the former speaker continues to declare he is the “legitimate president of the parliament.”

The developments of the case appeared to be a “fait accompli” imposed by a supreme body in the state.

The president of parliament can’t be assigned without the approval of the president, but from a constitutional point of view, the executive authority should not interfere in the affairs of the legislative authority.

The constitution stipulates that the president of the People’s National Assembly “is elected for a period of five (05) years” which means he can’t be removed unless he voluntarily resigns. However, the Constitution does mention the body to which the Speaker may refer to in case of abuse.

Legal experts proposed that the dispute be brought to the body charged with complying with the Constitution; the Constitutional Council. But Medelci closed the door on that opportunity.

Political and parliamentary action in Algeria has never experienced such a situation, nor have deputies ever ousted their president before.

Bouhadja’s opponents accuse him of “mismanagement”, which he strongly denies.

Other experts have strongly suggested resorting to the administrative judiciary, while others felt that this was not within the jurisdiction of the administrative courts.

Since his ouster, Bouhadja has stopped giving statements to the press and a close source to him told Asharq al-Awsat that “a top official in the state asked him to remain silent, and end the conflict with his opponents.”

Media circles indicate that a person in the presidency ordered the secretary-general of the National Liberation Front (FLN), Djamal Ould Abbes, and the secretary-general of National Democratic Rally (RND), PM Ahmed Ouyahia, to instruct the bipartisan deputies, more than 300, to turn against Bouhadja.

The opposition, composed of deputies of the Islamic Movement and the secularist movement, refused to engage in the process.

 

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