Brief history of the Institutionimprimer

The history of the Constitutional Council in Algeria merges with that of the Algerian Constitutions. Evolving sporadically between aborted, a notable absence and an unexpected but desired reappearance, the Constitutional Council continues the process of its implementation in the political and institutional landscape of the country. The constitutional history in Algeria shows that the process that has generated the current form of the Constitutional Council has gone through five stages.

It was first in 1963, when, in favor of the first constitution of independent Algeria, a Constitutional Council charged, according to Articles 63 and 65 of the Constitution, "... to decides on the constitutionality of the laws and legislative ordinances", was created. However, it will not be implemented and will not have the time to put into practice its constitutional jurisdictionowing to known political circumstances.

Secondly, the Constitution of 26 November 1976. It glossed over constitutional control, even though it provided, in its Article 186, that: "the political control vested in the governing bodies of the party and the State is carried out in accordance with the National Charter and the provisions of the Constitution. ".

Thirdly, the question of the creation of a constitutional control mechanism reemerged in political debates. Indeed, in December 1983, the 5th Congress of the NLF party, (single party before the rise of multiparty system in Algeria), "calls for the creation of a supreme body, under the authority of the President of the Republic(Secretary General of the party), charged with deciding on the constitutionality of laws, in order to guarantee the respect and the supremacy of the Constitution, to reinforce the legitimacy and the sovereignty of the law and to affirm and consolidate the responsible democracy in our country ". However, this recommendation wasnot constitutionalized.

Constitutional control will be revived– fourthly - thanks to the important constitutional amendment of23 February1989, which, in addition to the consecration of political pluralism and public liberties and the adoption of the principle of the separation of powers, created a Constitutional Council, responsible for ensuring compliance with the Constitution. This constitutional amendment of 1989 granted more extensive powers than those provided for in the 1963 Constitution, particularly with regard to constitutional review and electoral disputes, as well as advisory functions in some particular circumstances.

This revival of constitutional control, which constitutes a culminant point in the process of building the Rule of law, will be followed by the constitutional revision of 28 November 1996. It will introduce other innovations, in this case, the extension of the powers of the Constitutional Council to the obligatory control, before their promulgation, of the organic laws, the extension of the referral to a new constitutional authority, namely, the president of the Council of the Nation (2ndHouseof Parliament) and the increase of the members’ number of the Constitutional Council, which went from seven (07) to nine (09).

The constitutional revision of March 2016, the fifth time, reviewed the organization of the Constitutional Council, particularly its composition.It witnessed an increase in the number of its members (from nine 09 to twelve 12), for the sake of ensuring a balanced representation of the three powers within this Institution, and the creation of the function of Vice-President to ensure the Institution’s stability and sustainability.

Furthermore, the consolidation of the Constitutional Council’s members status, which concerns the extension of the term of office to eight (8) years, in order to alignwith international standards, the establishment of age limits, qualification, competence and experience, jurisdictional immunity in criminal matters for the President, the Vice-President and the members, and the obligation to take an oath before the President of the Republic prior to their entry into function.

Another renovation that concerns the referral. It has been extended to the Prime Minister and the parliamentary minority.

 Finally, another constitutional advance, introduced in the constitutional revision of March 2016, is the mechanism which allows the litigant to claim before a jurisdiction the unconstitutionality of a legislative provision, by a referral to the Constitutional Council of an exception of unconstitutionality pursuant to a request by the Supreme Court or the Council of State.

These advances are likely to strengthen the role of the Constitutional Council in the process of building the Rule of law, deepening pluralist democracy and protecting individual and collective rights and freedoms.