Overview and context
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Nationally Determined Contribution (UNFCCC website)
The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria achieved its independence in 1962, after more than a century of French rule, and is a semi-presidential republic, whose legal system is a mixture of French civil law and Islamic law. The government is divided into Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches. The President, elected by direct and popular vote, every five years, serves as both the Chief Executive and the Commander in Chief. The President appoints the Prime Minister, who serves as the head of the Government. The constitution was enacted in 1963 and has been amended on a number of occasions, most recently in 2008. In May 2014, following President Abdelazziz Bouteflika’s re-election, the Government released a constitutional reform package.
The legislative authority is held and exercised by a bicameral Parliament composed of the Council of the Nation (the upper house or Senate) and the National People’s Assembly (the lower house). The Council of the Nation, first instituted in 1997, consists of 144 seats, one third of which are appointed by the President and the remaining two thirds are elected by indirect vote of the elected members of communal assemblies and wilayas (provinces). Members serve for six-year terms and half of the Council is renewed every three years. The last Council of the Nation election was in 2012, and the next anticipated election is 2017. The National People’s Assembly is currently 462 seats, up from 389 during the last term, all of which are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. The most recent National People’s Assembly election was 2012 and the next anticipated election is in 2017.
Laws are first put forth by the National People’s Assembly and must be adopted by both houses; although the Council of the Nation has the absolute power to block the Legislative process, it neither has the authority to initiate legislation nor amend it. Prior to adoption, a bill is first successively debated in the National People’s Assembly then the Council of the Nation. Bills are adopted by a majority of three quarters of the members. In the event of a disagreement among the houses, a joint committee is created, composed of members of both houses, to propose a revised text, which is then subject to the approval of both houses and is not amendable.
When the National People’s Assembly is in recess, the President can legislate by ordinance; however, the President must present the text of the order/decree to both houses during the next session for approval. Ordinances not approved by both houses are considered obsolete. Presidential decrees do not have to be approved by both houses during a presidentially declared ‘state of emergency’. Algeria operated under a ‘state of emergency’ for 19 years, until it was officially lifted in February 2011.