Algeria.In January, the government presented its draft constitutional amendments that have been discussed for several years. The proposal meant, among other things, that the president may only sit for two terms of office, that an independent electoral commission be set up and that the Barbarians become the official language. Writings on women’s and men’s equal rights in working life were also included in the constitutional amendments adopted in February after several days of debate and final vote in Parliament. However, the opposition called the proposals cosmetic and said that they do not fundamentally challenge the current system.
According to countryaah, the current population of Algeria is 43,851,055. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika made an unusual appearance when he inaugurated a newly built conference center in western Alger in February. The president has stayed away from the public almost entirely since he was hit by a stroke three years ago, and the opposition has demanded that the planned parliamentary election 2018 be premeditated with reference to the president’s state of health.
A radical imam was sentenced to prison in March after accusing the writer and journalist Kamel Daoud of blasphemy and urging the state to execute him. The threat came after Daoud wrote a controversial Chronicle in the New York Times about the events in German Cologne, when hundreds of women reported sexual abuse.
During the spring, new judgments came in the corruption scandal within the state oil and gas company Sonatrach. The judges were charged with bribery in connection with the construction of a motorway through northern Algeria. Former Energy Minister Chakib Khelil, however, returned to Algeria following an international arrest warrant against him. In March, a gas plant was attacked by the company together with British BP and Norwegian Statoil. Like the hostage hit at another of the company’s facilities in 2013, the terrorist group Aqim also took on the blame for the attack, which was described as serious despite the fact that no people were injured.
During the spring and summer, several attacks were made against Islamists and suspected terrorists in several places, mainly in the east against the border with Libya where, among other things, the Islamic State (IS) terror group has established itself and from which militants are said to have crossed the border into Algeria.
Despite a demonstration ban, hundreds of people in Alger in July protested a lawsuit against the independent newspaper El Khabar, which was prevented by the state from selling parts of the company, whose newspaper is one of the most read in Algeria. According to thereligionfaqs, demonstrations of this kind are uncommon and when they occur they are often beaten down by the police. In recent years, journalists have found it difficult to operate freely in the country because they run the risk of being fined for criticism by the president and government institutions.
In December, British-Algerian blogger and journalist Mohamed Tamalt died of hunger strike for over three months in protest of being sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the president in a poem.