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Algerian Army Calls for Supporting Constitutional Referendum

Algerian Army Calls for Supporting Constitutional Referendum

Sunday, 18 October, 2020 - 08:00
Algerian Army Chief of Staff, Said Chengriha. (AP)

The Algerian army chief of staff called for supporting the new constitution to face "conspirators", urging for wide participation in the constitutional referendum vote scheduled for November 1.

During his meeting with leaders and commanders of the first military region, Major General Said Chengriha described the referendum as an opportunity for the youth to make history and determine the fate of their country according to their ambitions.

He indicated that the referendum is a chance for Algerians to stand united with the army against conspirators, without elaborating.

However, the civil and military authorities repeatedly denounced foreign conspiracies carried out by local parties, which try to sabotage any important political project.

The new constitution is being promoted as carrying solutions to all political and economic problems facing the country.

Chengriha’s statement confirms the opposition's conviction that the army interferes in politics and civilian governance.

The army chief categorically denied, during an interview with a French newspaper last week, those allegations claiming that the training of the military officers does not qualify them to be involved in politics.

Meanwhile, the head of the largest Islamic party, Movement of Society for Peace, Abderrazak Makri, denounced the French government’s support for the referendum, saying this is a sufficient reason to vote against it.

During the movement’s meeting in Algiers, Makri said that France continues to interfere in Algerian political, economic and cultural affairs, wondering why a French minister would praise the constitution.

Makri was referring to the recent visit of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Algeria, during which he discussed the constitutional amendments.

France cannot refrain from interfering in Algeria's affairs, because the colonial culture and mentality prevail over it, according to Makri, who said that Paris is discussing an issue which is a matter of disagreement among Algerians.

Makri also indicated that his party is still banned from campaigning against the referendum, saying it is an indication of the authority's suppression of freedoms.

Earlier on Thursday, the French FM told the press, after meeting with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, that Algerians are nearing an important stage that will allow them to vote on the referendum.

He affirmed that Tebboune has expressed willingness to amend state institutions, bolster governance, and balance between powers and freedoms.

The FM further stressed that Algerians alone can attain the aspirations of the popular protest movement.

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