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Parliament: “Courtesy Passports” Trigger “Scuffle” Among MPs About Hajj Passports Allotment


Parliament: “Courtesy Passports” Trigger “Scuffle” Among MPs About Hajj Passports Allotment

The deputies of the opposition in the National People’s Assembly, lambasted against Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, by excoriating the courtesy passports granted by the Government annually to the deputies of the two chambers of Parliament.

Members of parliament accused PM Ouyahia of politicizing the file of the Hajj and handling it as private property. In contrast, the deputies denied receiving extra Hajj passports.

The head of the parliamentary group of the Union for the Renaissance, Justice and Construction, Lakhdar Benkhallaf, lashed out the Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, accusing him of wittingly “manipulating” the Hajj passports for this season.

The MP said in a statement on the sidelines of a parliamentary session devoted to oral questions on Wednesday that PM Ouyahia acted in this very passports’ file “as a private property, and thereby granted passports to the parliamentary blocs composed of loyalists of the Government, while depriving of Hajj passports 5 parliamentary blocs belonging to the opposition.”

He thus appealed to the President of the National People’s Assembly Mr Said Bouhadja to intervene and investigate the case.

This was rejected by the parliamentary MP representing the National Democratic Rally, (RND) Djamal Kikane, who denied that the deputies of the RND and the National Liberation Front (FLN), received additional Hajj passports outside the precise quota the Government grants annually to the deputies of the two chambers of Parliament.

On the other hand, an MP representing the Union for the Renaissance of Justice and Construction belonging to the opposition criticized the prime minister in his intervention.

The MP urged to this effect the Prime Minister to go down to the lower chamber of Parliament himself and to answer the questions of the people’s representatives and not only to assign the minister in charge of relations with parliament to read the answers, saying: “It is not justified that PM Ouyahia each time commissioned the Minister of Relations with Parliament to respond to the deputies all time round, adding that this nagging problem should be sorted out any time soon”.

In this context, Mr Benkhallaf said that the Prime Minister has not responded to the written question No. 3 submitted to him nine months ago, despite the fact that the Constitution confirms that the deadline for answering MPs’ questions should not exceed 30 days, considering this lapse as a trampling underfoot of the Constitution.


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