Algeria: Prohibition of bi-nationals from certain top state positions

Algeria: Prohibition of bi-nationals from certain top state positions

Ernestine ADJA Ernestine ADJA

 The highly controversial Algerian law on the exclusion of bi-nationals from certain top positions in the state — which was introduced into the new Constitution in January 2016 — was promulgated and gazetted in the Official Journal on 11 January 2017.On the civilian side, the list of posts prohibited to bi-nationals includes: the president of the Council of the Nation (Senate); the president of the National People’s Congress (ANP); the Prime Minister; the president of the Constitutional Council; the members of the Government; the Secretary General of the government; the first president of the Supreme Court; the president of the State Council; the Governor of the Bank of Algeria; the president of the Independent High Authority for Election Supervision; and the heads of the security organs (without specifying which ones).

 There is no specific mention in this list of the President of the Republic, although that is presumably taken for granted. Nor is it made clear who is a ‘member of the government’, although this seems to be ‘all ministers’.The government’s approach is all the more incomprehensible becasue the published list does not include posts such as ambassadors or consuls, who are supposed to defend the interests of the country abroad.

 Amongst the military, sole Algerian nationality is required for: the Chief of Staff of the National People’s Army (ANP); the commanders of the armed forces; the commanders of military regions; and any other military responsibilities defined by regulation. Again, this latter clause is rather open-ended.Bi-nationals appointed to any of these positions have six months in which to show their intention to abandon their other nationality by sending a declaration of honour to the president of the Supreme Court.

 The new Constitution’s restrictions raised an outcry within the Algerian diaspora, notably in Paris. Chafia Mentalecheta, a member of the Algerian community abroad, said: ‘This is a discriminatory measure against Algerians. Algeria belongs to all her children, whether they are inside or outside Algeria.

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