SADR as a State
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SADR| PROCLAMATION OF THE SAHARAWI ARAB DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
           (February 27, 1976)

In the name of the Saharawi people, and in pursuance of their will, the flag of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic has been raised over the land of Saguiat el-Hamra and Rio de Oro. The birth of an African State with deep roots in the history of our people, with a civilization which spread over the entire Maghreb was so proclaimed. The strength of this state arises out of the faith of its sons in their right to life and freedom, and its principal arm is their determination and perseverance in the struggle.

A new page has been started on which is written the struggle of our people who are today defying the colonialism of the neighbour "brothers", for by their heroic struggle they brought the previous page of the foreign enemy's colonialism to an end.

Today the Saharawi people have decided to publicly take an important step: to set up the fundamental institutions arising out of revolutionary legality, essential to succeed in the present struggle for liberty and to exercise truly democratic power.

In carrying out the will of our people the POLISARIO Front, with the unanimous agreement of the Provisional National Saharawi Council, decided to constitute a government which will assume responsibilities for the continuation of the battle, raising the flag of the liberation struggle always higher until final victory, which will guarantee peace and security for our people and open before them and brother Arabs and Africans the way to unity and liberation.

On this occasion we renew our commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Organisation of African Unity, in particular those concerned with defending the rights of man, territorial integrity and established frontiers, as a guarantee of African and international peace and security.

We want to draw the attention of the United Nations Organisation, the Organisation of African Unity and the Arab League to their historical responsibility towards a peaceful people, victims of an attempt at extermination, a veritable genocide.

We put this responsibility before all the peoples of the world, for it is their duty to assist the victims of aggression, so that the imperialist plot will fail.
At this historical moment when the government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic has been constituted on national soil and proclaimed at the same time in Algiers, Tripoli, Tananarive, Conakry, Bujumbura, we hold out a friendly hand to the brother peoples of Morocco and Mauritania, to ask them to support our liberation struggle and understand that the future belongs to peoples. We call on them to spare innocent blood by demanding that this war, imposed on us by their regimes to serve foreign interests and personal ambitions, be brought to an end.

We hold out the hand of friendship to all the peoples and States of the world, asking them to support our just struggle and recognize the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. We state on this occasion our sincere desire to establish friendly relations and co-operation with all States on the basis of mutual respect and national sovereignty.

We are determined to continue the struggle until final victory, whatever the sacrifices may be. For as long as this aggression lasts, until our people have completed the liberation of their national territory, there will be neither peace nor stability in this region.

 


The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) defines itself as a republic and proclaims itself to be the aim of the Polisario Front. The current SADR is provisional. Its activity and geographical location are marked by exile. The SADR is defined in the Constitution of 1976 as part of the Arab, African and Third World nation, with a policy of non-alignment and as a long term objective the question of the unity of the Maghreb as a step towards a wider unity, Arab and African.

The SADR defined itself in terms of a State as a free, independent, sovereign State governed by a national democratic system, of a unionist orientation, progressive and of Islamic faith, on the base of the free popular will founded at the beginnings of the democratic option. It considered itself a member of the Charters of the UN, the OAU, and the Arab League, as well as of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Currently the SADR has its capital in the refugee camps (located in southwestern Algeria) and its sphere of legitimate action is currently limited to these refugee camps situated in this area, Algerian territory which has been ceded to the SADR, and the liberated areas of Western Sahara which in 1998 represented around 1/3 of the territory.

The administrative structure of the refugee camps contemplates the existence of four wilayas or provinces which are each subdivided into dairas or municipalities. These dairas are divided into hays or districts.

 


Although the SADR constitution contemplates a multi-party system after achieving independence, currently it is the Polisario Front organised as a party which articulates the SADR which is conceived as the ultimate aim of the Saharawi struggle for liberation. From the Polisario Front the SADR is defined as the State. The SADR government is a government of circumstances, characterised by exile. Therefore, it is the structure of the Polisario which gives form and nourishes the SADR. The most obvious example is that the roles of the president of the SADR and the head of the Saharawi state are exercised by the Secretary General of the Polisario Front (maximum authority of this organisation), who is at the same time the chief of the Saharawi Popular Liberation Army. The SADR president is Mohamed Abdelaziz.

In 2003 the SADR government is formed by:
* Mohamed Abdelaziz, president.
* Abdelkader Taleb Oumar , prime minister.
* Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, foreign minister.
* Mohamed Lamine Dedi, minister of interior.
* Salek Baba Hassena, minister of co-operation.
* Mariem Saleek H'mada, minister of culture and sports.
* Boullahi Siid , Public health minister.
* Mohamed ould Nafaa , minister of Construction.
* Salek Bobih, minister of equipments.
* Mohamed Lamine Bouhali , defense minister.
* Bachir Moustapha Sayed , education minister.
* Sidahmed Batal , information minister.
* Abdelkader Hamada Selma , minister of justice and religious issues.
* Babiya Chiia , transport minister.
* Sidati Mohamed, counselor minister of the presidency.
* Daf Mohamed Fadel, general secretary of the Presidency.

The members of the SADR government are members of the Polisario Front. The Secretary General of the Polisario Front is elected by a body called the General Congress of the Polisario Front (which since 1985 meets every three years). The duration of his mandate is for three years (until the next vote carried out by the General Congress). The General Congress is made up of all the representatives of the Popular Councils, and it is these who elect their future leaders. Each person who is elected to from part of the government is assigned a task according to his knowledge. The General Congress has, also, the power to approve, reject or modify the constitution, which is understood within the general objective of the Polisario, i.e., the creation of a Saharawi State after independence is achieved. The Congress has used its reforming powers, amongst the reforms which have been carried out an example is the prohibition of the death sentence.

The executive is made up by the secretary general of the Polisario Front (SADR president) and the government (formed by the ministers). The Secretary General has as his functions: the naming of the prime minister after the Congress meets to create a government, as well as the naming of ambassadors and the army command. The executive is responsible for carrying out those decisions agreed in the popular congresses.

The legislative branch is formed by the National Assembly composed of 101 members elected by the General Popular Congress. The National Assembly, even though previously a legislative and consulting organ with stronger emphasis on its consultant functions, currently seems to be reaffirming its legislative functions.

In the judicial sphere, there is a judicial organism in each daira and also a type of assembly which is not popularly elected. The judicial sphere is one of the grounds which in recent years has been more subject to modifications.

 


The creation of the SADR implied the production of a provisional constitution, a magna carta of the new state. At the 3rd Polisario Front Congress, a definitive constitution was produced which substituted the provisional one and which can be considered as continuist, although it accentuated some parts such as the subject of religion. With this constitution it was affirmed that the religion of the State was Islam and that this was the source of its laws. Even so, the freedom of faith was recognised. Also, the socialist nature which characterised the previous constitution is dissolved in this one. But even so, this constitution is still characterised by a form whose end is "a model of democratic and socialist progressism, respecting the traditional values of Islam”, in the words of Diego Aguirre (a Spanish expert on Western Sahara) . The SADR defines itself as socialist. But a socialism based on the reality of the Saharawi people, without being important. A peculiar socialism which coincides with the social, political, and economic reality of the Saharawi people.

In the constitution approved by the 3rd Congress, important points were the fact that all citizens were considered equal before the law, the right to political asylum was guaranteed, the presumption of innocence, the right to defence and the protection of the home, as specified by Diego Aguirre. The State guarantees obligatory and free education, health and the right and duty to work. The last recorded reform was carried out in 1991.

 


The political culture of the Saharawis is characterised by their democratic character. The Saharawi people has always been a people of Bedouin roots but very democratic. The political culture of the Saharawis is characterised by its democratic nature. The nomadism practised until well after the start of the Spanish colonial phase has meant that no strong subjection to power by the Saharawi people has been known, from there stems the fact that the Polisario Front argues that the Saharawi people have always been a free people. The entry of Spain into the territory and the incorporation of new forms of organisation of work and of political relations meant a series of changes which were translated basically in settlement and in the adoption of certain Spanish customs. Despite this, it should be remembered that before the entry of Spain into the Sahara there was a Saharawi organisation which revolved around a body which represented all the tribes which existed, and which created a forum where their problems were discussed and debated.

 


The SADR only forms part of the OAU (Organization of African Unity is the former name of what now became AU, African Unity). Even so, it has been recognised as a State by over 80 States, nearly all of them African or Latin American. The SADR is not recognized neither by the USA nor Russia.

Although the recognition of the SADR is a subject with strong political repercussions, Western countries and others who have not recognised the SADR, most of them do recognise the Polisario Front as representative of the Saharawi people. Also, the civil adhesions and sympathies for the Saharawi cause centred on the holding of the self-determination referendum have had a great impact on the different Western societies.