Algerian President Houari Boumedienne officially endorsed his country's new constitution in Algiers on Wednesday (8 December).
GV: Boumedienne entering and sitting down at table
GV: Boumedienne signing book.
GV ZOOM INTO: poster of Boumedienne outside FLN headquarters.
GV: demonstrators gathered in street. (2 shots)
GV: people dancing in street.
GV: demonstrators in street. (3 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Algerian President Houari Boumedienne officially endorsed his country's new constitution in Algiers on Wednesday (8 December). The signing ceremony took place at the same time as a mass rally, - held to demonstrate support for Mr. Boumedienne's candidacy for re-election as President.
SYNOPSIS: The signing completed the transition President Boumedienne describes as "revolutionary legitimacy to constitutional legitimacy" The new constitution was adopted after a referendum last month. It was approved by 99.18 percent of voters. Basically, it calls for a national assembly of about 300 members -- to be elected early next year -- and the dissolution of the Council of the Revolution. The council -- a body mostly made up of military officers -- took power in 1965 and has always been presided over by Mr. Boumedienne.
It will be replace by an executive committee of Algeria's sole political party, the National Liberation Front (FLN). But this won't take place until about 1978.
Mr. Boumedienne is the only presidential candidate. He will be elected head of state, head of the armed forces, head of the government, head of the national defence and head of the FLN.
The president's next term will run for six years, but under the new constitution no limit is set to the amount of consecutive terms a president may serve. Efforts have been made to foster public enthusiasm for the election, which will be held on Friday (10 December). Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in rallies to endorse Mr. Boumedienne's candidacy.
It's only the second presidential election in 14 years of Algerian independence. The first gave former President Ahmed Ben Bella a 99.6 percent vote of approval in 1963. Mr. Boumedienne overthrew Ahmed Ben Bella in 1965 when he considered the revolution was threatened by corruption and incompetence.