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Vote on a New Constitution in Algeria Marks a Turning Point

For President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, adoption of the charter would be a welcome new beginning after his predecessor and many top officials were toppled by mass demonstrations last year. For the Hirak opposition movement, the November 1 referendum will show what clout it still has, after its protests ended the 20-year rule of veteran leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika but failed to achieve its ambitions of deeper change. The weekly mass protests, which sought to sweep away the entire ruling elite, were put on hold when the coronavirus pandemic reached the country in March. Influential people in Hirak, such as Islam Benatia, see the constitution as doing little to answer their demands and the referendum as a tactic to sideline their movement.