The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is the second largest country on the African continent. It is bordered by Tunisia in the northeast, Libya in the east, Niger in the southeast, Mali and Mauritania in the southwest, and Morocco as well as a few kilometers of the Western Sahara, in the west. Constitutionally, Algeria is defined as an Islamic, Arab, and Amazigh (Berber) country. Algeria is a member of the African Union; it is also a member of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).
The head of state is the President of the Republic, who is elected to a 5-year term, renewable once. Algeria has universal suffrage at age 18. The President is the head of the Council of Ministers and of the High Security Council. He appoints the Prime Minister who is also the head of government. The Prime Minister appoints the Council of Ministers.
The Algerian parliament is bicameral, consisting of a lower chamber, the National People's Assembly (APN), with 380 members; and an upper chamber, the Council Of Nation, with 144 members. The APN is elected every 5 years.
Under the 1976 constitution (as modified 1979, and amended in 1988, 1989, and 1996) Algeria is a multi-party state. All parties must be approved by the Ministry of the Interior. To date, Algeria has had more than 40 legal political parties. According to the constitution, no political association may be formed if it is "based on differences in religion, language, race, gender or region."