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Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

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Politics and government of
the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic



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The Sahrawi National Council or simply National Council (SNC) is the legislature of the government in exile of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Its structure and competences are guided by the Constitution of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). The present speaker is Mahfoud Ali Beiba (since 2003).

It was first created by Polisario Front members and Sahrawi tribal notables in November 1975 as the Provisionary National Council, after the proclamation of Guelta Zemmur. On February 27, 1976, Polisario leader El-Ouali Mustapha Sayed announced that the Council had declared the creation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, of which it became the first parliament. On the Polisario's third General Popular Congress (August 26-30, 1976), a newly elected membership was formally installed as the Sahrawi National Council.

It has 101 seats, elected at the General Popular Congresses by delegates from the refugee camps of Tindouf, Algeria, supplemented by representatives of the Sahrawi People's Liberation Army and the so-called popular organizations (UJSARIO, UNMS, UGTSARIO). It normally convenes in the so-called Free Zone of Western Sahara, but on occasion also in Tindouf.

Among the reforms enacted by the SNC are the abolishment of the death penalty. In 1999, the SNC caused the fall of the government of the SADR through a motion of no-confidence. The powers of the SNC were substantially expanded in the 1991 constitutional reforms of the SADR, and has since been further enhanced (last in 1999).

e • d  Composition of the Sahrawi National Council
Party Seats
Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro 101
Total 101
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