* Proposals include delegation of power to premier
* Opposition mostly rejects constitution reforms
* Bouteflika's frail health fuels transition concerns
(Adds details, byline)
By Lamine Chikhi
ALGIERS, May 15 Algerian President Abdelaziz
Bouteflika, newly re-elected despite suffering a stroke last
year, has proposed a raft of reforms including setting a
two-term presidential limit and delegating more authority to the
prime minister, a government source said on Thursday.
Bouteflika, 77, won last month's election to secure his
fourth five-year term, despite his opponents' arguments that his
fragile health undermined his ability to govern.
His frailty has raised questions about who might succeed him
in Algeria, a major gas supplier to Europe and a key ally in
Washington's fight against Islamist militancy in the Maghreb
region of North Africa.
Analysts said the proposed reforms may be aimed at easing
worries over a potential transition should Bouteflika become
unable to finish his new term. A previous two-term limit was
removed to allow him to run for a third term five years ago,
when he won a landslide victory.
The government source said the 47 proposed amendments
included lifting controls on the media and giving parliament
more ability to question government officials.
The source said the draft was handed to political parties,
which have been invited to debate the reforms in June before
they go to a constitutional committee for review and then
probably to a referendum for final approval.
"Invitations have been sent to partners in the process of
the constitutional revision," APS state news agency said.
APS said details of the proposals from a panel of experts
would be released on Friday, but the source said the government
had dropped a previous idea of creating a vice president's
position to help Bouteflika administer his fourth term.
His ally Abdelmalek Sellal was reappointed prime minister
after the election, having briefly stepped down to campaign on
behalf of the president.
Politics in the OPEC state have been mostly dominated since
the end of French colonial rule in 1962 by the ruling National
Liberation Front (FLN) and the army.
Most of its opposition leaders - including secular and
Islamist rivals - have already rejected Bouteflika's proposal
they join the debate, dismissing the invitation as a move to
co-opt them rather than an attempt at real reform.
"Two years ago, the regime called us to make proposals for a
new constitution. They did not take into consideration any of
our suggestions," Abderazak Mokri, leader of the moderate
Islamist party MSP, said this week. "This new invitation is just
another way to fool the opposition."
But the opposition parties, which mostly boycotted the April
election, are split over how to challenge a political system
they say is controlled by the FLN, its political allies and
business elites who support the status quo.
Bouteflika enjoys support among those Algerians who believe
a fourth term is a guarantee of stability in a country still
traumatised by a decade-long 1990s war with armed Islamists that
killed more than 200,000 people.
That experience has left a deep mark on Algerian society,
where many are wary of upheaval and see the turmoil after the
2011 Arab Spring revolutions in their North African neighbours
as a risk for their country's own stability.
(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing
by Mark Trevelyan)