Algerians started to vote in a referendum on the amended constitution on Sunday, as what had been pledged by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune during his electoral campaign in late 2019.
The proposed constitution, if passed, will be the eighth one in Algeria since the North African country won independence from France in 1962.
“If approved by the Algerian people, the amended constitution would pave the way for the new Algeria that everyone is hoping for,” said Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad in a brief press statement issued after he had cast his vote.
This referendum, in which 24 million out of the 44 million population are eligible to vote, coincides with the celebrations of the War of November 1, the day when the Algerian War of Independence broke out in 1954 and ran until 1962.
To counter the increasing number of infections with COVID-19 in Algeria, the Independent National Elections Authority has developed a special health protocol to ensure a well-organized referendum, including the social distancing and wearing masks in the polling stations.
The vote comes as Tebboune has been under treatment in Germany since Wednesday for contracting COVID-19, according to a statement of the Presidency.
Late on Saturday, the Algerian President sent a message to his people, urging the voters to actively participate in this constitutional referendum “to meet their aspirations for a new, strong Algeria.”