Algerian parliamentary group leaders vote on a package of constitutional reforms on February 7, 2016, in the capital Algiers. AFP / Farouk Batiche
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Algeria's parliament adopted a package of constitutional reforms Sunday that authorities say will strengthen democracy, but opponents doubt it will bring real change.The reforms are meant to address long-standing public grievances in the North African nation, and possibly to prepare for a smooth transition amid concerns over the health of 78-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.The package was passed by 499 votes to two, with 16 abstentions, Senate Speaker Abdel-Kader Bensalah said. A two-term limit on the presidency – lifted in 2008 to allow Bouteflika to run for a third time – will be reintroduced and the president will be required to nominate a prime minister from the largest party in parliament.Bouteflika – whose public engagements have become rare since suffering a stroke in 2013 – will be allowed to finish his fourth term, which ends in 2019, and run for a fifth if he wishes.
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