Algeria in the 1990’s

In the presidential elections convened in November 1995, held under the threat of violence and attacks, he was elected president Zeroual with 61, 34 % of the votes. Boycotted by the FIS, the FLN and the SBB, the elections nevertheless saw the participation of more than 75% of the electorate. In light of the intimidation launched by Islamic terrorists, who had threatened to kill anyone who went to the polling stations, the November vote had a profound political significance, that of a clear pronouncement of the country on the one hand against terrorism and on the other for the legitimation of the appointment of president Zeroual. This consultation was also characterized by a high participation in the vote of women, who, after long battles, obtained in 1995 the abolition of the rule that allowed men to vote for the women of their family. Before 1991, by presenting only the family booklet to the polling station, a man could vote for his wife, mother and daughters; in 1991 a first revision reduced the possibility of a man to vote to three proxies. One year after the presidential elections, on November 28, 1996, some constitutional changes were approved by referendum which, in addition to recognizing Islam as the state religion and banning religious or regional based parties from the political scene, were aimed above all at strengthening the powers of the president with the creation of a second chamber whose members were about one third presidential nominated. Preceded by a pounding propaganda of the regime and carried out with the help of a massive deployment of the army, the referendum was boycotted by all the opposition forces – with the exception of the FLN which returned to ally itself with the government – who objected to it. the results and official estimates of participating voters (79, 8 %). For Algeria 2002, please check

During 1997, especially since June, the massacres of the population recorded a degree of brutality never reached before: the elderly and children were tortured and slaughtered in the villages around Algiers, while young women were kidnapped, raped and then killed by terrorists. At the end of August, despite the optimistic statements made by the government about the defeat of terrorism, or perhaps precisely to disprove what was declared, more than three hundred people were massacred in a single attack in the Blida region, west of Algiers, which has always been a stronghold of terrorism. Islamist. In a situation marked by such violence, but also by the good results of the national economy, favored by the rise in the price of oil and the redefinition of the payment times for foreign debt, in June 1997 legislative elections were held, announced by the regime as the ‘crowning glory of national reconstruction’. From the consultation, characterized by a low turnout (65 % according to official data, much less according to the opposition), the president’s party, the National Democratic Rally (RND), won 155 seats. Second party, with 69 seats, the Movement of Society for Peace, a moderate Islamic party founded in December 1990 with the name of Ḥamas: after 1992, the outlaw of the FIS favored the moderate Islamic party of M. Naḥnaḥ which became the spokesperson for the aspirations of the Islamist movement, which, very pragmatically, decided to ally with President Zeroual. Also good were the results of Ennahda (al-nahḍa, “rebirth”), another small Islamic group (34 seats). The FLN received 64 seats. The results obtained by the democratic and opposition parties were modest: the SBB won just 20 seats, and 19 the Grouping for Culture and Democracy (RCD) led by S. Sadi, the most secular of the Algerian parties. The 1997 policy voteit certainly did not reward the independent and democratic forces of the country, bravely committed to fighting the fanatical extremism of Islamic terrorists trying to strengthen pluralism and reduce the power of the army, defined by many as the true arbiter of the Algerian situation. The ceasefire proclaimed by AIS, the armed wing of the FIS, on 1 October 1997, did not contribute in any way to shedding light on the massacres or to unravel the tangled skein of responsibility, as too many culprits were now out of control. Many voices denounced the intentional absence of the army from the areas most targeted by the attacks and the strong interests that the military caste had matured during these long years of conflict, being able to maneuver in full freedom: in a pacified country, in fact, the military would lose irretrievably their power. At the end of 1997new divisions have emerged within the regime: on the one hand, the front of the so-called radical eradicators of terrorism, led by the chief of staff M. Lamari (al-῾Amārī), number two of the regime, on the other the clan of the president Zeroual. Another strong man of the country M. Medienne (Midiyān), alias Tawfīq, the head of the secret services who secretly led the negotiations for the AIS ceasefire. In the first months of 1998, especially during the month of Raman, new massacres in the remote villages of the country, now a favorite target of terrorists, caused many hundreds of deaths.

During 1998, despite the first significant successes against the Gia terrorists, the result of massive military interventions, the massacres of the civilian population continued, albeit reduced. In September, the sudden resignation of Zeroual paved the way for the presidential elections on April 15, 1999, the real protagonist of which once again seemed to be the army, which supported Abdelaziz Bouteflika (῾Abd al-῾Azīz Bū Taflīqa), former right-hand man of the president H. Boumedienne in the seventies. One day before the elections, the surprise withdrawal of the other six candidates, in protest for the irregularities recorded even before the vote, paved the way for the victory of Bouteflika who obtained over 73% of consents.

Algeria in the 1990's

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