A change to a 1984 law plans to ban men from divorcing their wives for no reason and give women access to financial support from their former husbands, an official statement said on Tuesday.

It would scrap the need for women to ask permission from a male family member to marry, and polygamy would need to be approved by a magistrate.

Politicians say the reform law will expectedly be approved shortly by parliament since Butaflika has the backing of the majority in both houses.

Paving the way

The draft was cleared late on Tuesday by the council of ministers, chaired by Butaflika.

The North African country's two legal Islamic political parties wanted the bill scrapped or put to a referendum.

Butaflika made reforming the family code a priority after his landslide re-election in April last year.

He had also called for reforming the controversial law during his first term but put it on ice fearing a backlash from moderate Islamist parties at a time when the authorities were fighting hard to end a decade of rebel violence.