Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

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الجمهورية العربية الصحراوية الديمقراطية
Al-Jumhūrīyya al-`Arabīyya as-Saharāwīyya ad-Dīmuqrātīyya

República Árabe Saharaui Democrática
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Image:Flag of Western Sahara.svg Image:Coat of arms of Western Sahara.svg
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: حرية ديمقراطية وحدة   (Arabic)
"Liberty, Democracy, Unity"
Anthem: Yābaniy Es-Saharā  listen

This map indicates the territory claimed by the SADR, viz. Western Sahara. The majority of this territory is currently administered by Morocco; the remainder is known as the "Free Zone".

Capital El Aaiún (de jure)
Bir Lehlou (de facto)
Largest city El Aaiún
Official languages Arabic
(Spanish widely spoken)
Government Nominal republic
 - President Mohamed Abdelaziz
 - Prime Minister Abdelkader Taleb Oumar
Disputed with Morocco 
 - Western Sahara
   relinquished by Spain
November 14 1975 
 - SADR proclaimed February 27 1976 
Area
 - Total 266,0001 km² (83rd)
102,7031 sq mi 
 - Water (%) negligible
Population
 - July 2004 estimate 267,405 (182nd)
 - Density 1.3/km² (228nd)
3.4/sq mi
Time zone UTC (UTC+0)
Internet TLD none2
1 Area of the territory claimed by the SADR (Western Sahara).
2 .eh reserved.

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR or Saharawi; Arabic: الجمهورية العربية الصحراوية الديمقراطية , Spanish: República Árabe Saharaui Democrática (RASD)) is a largely unrecognized de facto state that does not currently control the majority of its claimed territory, the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara. It was proclaimed on February 27, 1976 by the Polisario Front. Currently, Morocco administers the majority of the territory as its Southern Provinces; the SADR claims to control the rest as the Free Zone.

Contents

[edit] History

Image:SADR location.png
The Polisario Front claims to administer the area in yellow on behalf of the SADR.

When the former Spanish Sahara was evacuated by Spain, both Morocco and Mauritania moved in to annex it; neither gained international recognition and war with the independence-seeking Polisario Front, representing the Sahrawi indigenous people, ensued. The creation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was announced in Bir Lehlou in Western Sahara on February 27 1976, as the Polisario declared the need for a new entity to fill what they considered a political void left by the departing Spanish colonizers. Bir Lehlou is still in Polisario-held territory under the 1991 cease-fire (see Settlement Plan) and has remained a temporary capital of the exiled republic, until the Sahrawi capital of El-Aaiun, presently in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, can function as the capital of an independent Western Sahara. Day-to-day business is however conducted in the Tindouf refugee camps in Algeria, which houses most of the Sahrawi exile community.

[edit] Government structure

The highest office of the republic is the President of Western Sahara, now Mohammed Abdelaziz, who appoints the Prime Minister of Western Sahara, now Abdelkader Taleb Oumar. The SADR's government structure consists of a Council of Ministers (a cabinet led by the Prime Minister), a judicial branch (with judges appointed by the President) and the parliamentary Sahrawi National Council (SNC, present speaker is Mahfoud Ali Beiba). Since its inception in 1976, the various constitutional revisions has transformed the republic from an ad hoc managerial structure, into what closely resembles an actual governing apparatus. From the late 1980s the parliament made a clear attempt at instituting a division of powers and of disentangling the republic's structures from those of the Polisario.

Its various ministries are responsible for a variety of services and functions. The judiciary, complete with trial courts, appeals courts and a supreme court, operates in the same areas. The SADR's status as a government-in-exile prevents normal function of many branches of government, and has affected the constitutional roles of the institutions. It has also led to the creation of parallel institutions to structures within the Polisario Front, which is fused with the SADR's governing apparatus, and government competences in some areas seem to overlap between these institutions and offices.

The SNC is presently weak in its legislative role, having been instituted as a mainly consultative and consensus-building institution, but it has strengthened its legislative and controlling powers during later constitutional revisions. Among other things, it has managed to add a ban on the death penalty to the constitution, and bring down the government in 1999 through a vote of no-confidence.

[edit] Legislative branch

Image:Mohamed Abdelaziz and flag.png
Polisario leader Mohamed Abdelaziz standing by the flag of the SADR.
[discuss] – [edit]
Composition of the Sahrawi National Council
Party Seats
Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro 101
Total 101

[edit] Area of authority

The SADR exercises state power in the Sahrawi refugee camps located in the Tindouf Province of western Algeria, and in what it terms the liberated areas (the Polisario-held, more or less unpopulated parts of Western Sahara east of the Moroccan Wall). It is headquartered in Camp Rabouni, south of Tindouf, although official events often for symbolic purposes take place on Western Saharan territory, in the provisional capital of Bir Lehlou or Tifariti. The Algerian authorities stay outside the Sahrawi refugee camps and respect the autonomy of the republic. Several foreign aid agencies, including the UNHCR, are continually active in the camps.

[edit] Constitution and characteristics

The 1999 Constitution of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is basically a parliamentary constitution similar to those of many European states, but with some paragraphs suspended until the achievement of "full independence". For example, the head of state is constitutionally the general secretary of the Polisario during the pre-independence phase. But the constitution also states that this must change when an independent Western Sahara is a reality, at which time the Polisario will be dismantled or separated completely from the government structure. Provisions are detailed for the transitory phase beginning with independence, in which the present SADR is supposed to act as Western Sahara's government, ending with pre-scheduled constitutional reform and the setting up of a normal state along the lines specified in the constitution.

Further, the constitution lays down broad guidelines for the character of the future Western Saharan state: it is to be founded as a multi-party democracy with a market economy. The constitution also defines Sahrawis as a Muslim, African and Arab people, and the Arabic language as the official language of the SADR; declares the commitment of the republic to the principles of human rights, and to the concept of a Greater Maghreb, as a regional variant of Pan-Arabism.

[edit] International recognition and membership

Sahrawi Republic
Image:Coat of arms of Western Sahara.svg

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic



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The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is currently recognized as a sovereign representative of Western Sahara by forty-three states, mostly African and other third world governments. This figure does not include twenty-two states that have withdrawn their former recognition, or the twelve that have "frozen" their diplomatic relations with the republic pending the outcome of the UN referendum. Sahrawi embassies exist in thirteen states. On the other hand, Moroccan territorial integrity, possibly including Western Sahara, is explicitly recognized by the Arab League [1] [2] and by twenty-five states.

Although it has no representation at the United Nations, the republic has been a full member of the African Union (AU, formerly the Organization of African Unity, OAU) since 1984. As a consequence, Morocco left the OAU and remains the only African nation not to join the AU since South Africa's admittance in 1994. The SADR is also a member of the Asian-African Strategic Partnership formed at the 2005 Asian-African Conference.<ref name="Asian-African Strategic Partnership">Template:Cite web</ref> Morocco has objected to the SADR's participation, but was rebuffed.<ref name="Asian-African Strategic Partnership 2">Template:Cite web</ref>

In 2006, the SADR participated in a conference of the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of the Latin American and the Caribbean (COPPAL)<ref name="Permanent Conference of Political Parties of the Latin American and the Caribbean">Template:Cite web</ref>.

The SADR is not a member of the Arab League, nor of the Arab Maghreb Union, both of which include Morocco as a full member.

[edit] A Western Sahara Authority?

In the most recent UN-endorsed peace plan, created by James Baker, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's personal envoy to Western Sahara, the SADR would have been replaced with a five-year transitional Western Sahara Authority (WSA), a non-sovereign autonomous region supervised by Morocco, to be followed by a referendum on independence. However, as Morocco has declined to participate, the plan appears dead.

[edit] National holidays

Date Name Original event / Notes
February 27 Independence Day };"> Proclamation of the SADR in Bir Lehlou, 1976

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May 10 Foundation of the Polisario Front };"> Founded 1973

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May 20 May 20 Revolution };"> Start of the armed struggle against Spain in 1973

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June 5 Day of the Disappeared };"> Remembering missing Sahrawis

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June 9 Day of the Martyrs };"> Day on which El-Ouali died in 1976

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June 17 Zemla Intifada };"> Harakat Tahrir riots in El-Aaiun, 1970

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October 12 Day of National Unity };"> Celebrating the Ain Ben Tili Conference, 1975

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[edit] Islamic dates

Dates kept according to the lunar Islamic calendar.

Date Name Observance
Dhul Hijja 10 Eid al-Adha };"> Sacrifice feast

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Shawwal 1 Eid al-Fitr };"> End of Ramadan

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Rabi`-ul-Awwal 12 Mawlid };"> Birthday of Muhammad

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[edit] See also

[edit] References

<references/>

[edit] External links

Official SADR pages

| (official SADR press agency) }}

| (official TV channel) }}

| (official radio channel) }}

| (SADR oil and gas licensing offer) }}

Other

de:Demokratische Arabische Republik Sahara es:República Árabe Saharaui Democrática fr:République arabe sahraouie démocratique gl:República Árabe Saharauí Democrática ru:Сахарская Арабская демократическая республика sv:Sahariska Arabiska Demokratiska Republiken

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

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