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Chadli Bendjedid


In office
February 9, 1979 – January 11, 1992
Preceded by Rabah Bitat
Succeeded by Muhammad Boudiaf

Born April 14, 1929 (1929-04-14) (age 80)
Zeitouna, Annaba, Algeria
Political party FLN
Spouse(s) Halima Ben Aissa

Chadli Bendjedid (Arabic: شاذلي بن جديد‎) (born April 14, 1929 at Bouteldja[1], near Annaba) was President of Algeria from February 9, 1979 to January 11, 1992.

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Early career

Chadli Bendjedid served in the French Army as a noncommissioned officer and fought in Indo-China.[1] He defected to the National Liberation Front (FLN) at the beginning of the Algerian War of Independence in 1954. A protege of Houari Boumediene, Bendjedid was rewarded with the military command of the Oran, Algeria region in 1964.[1] After independence he rose through the ranks, becoming head of the 2nd military region in 1964 and Colonel in 1969[2].

Ascent to presidency

Bendjadid was minister of defense from November 1978 to February 1979 and became president following the death of Boumédiènne. Bendjadid was a compromise candidate who came to power after the party leadership and presidency was contested at the fourth FLN congress held on 27 - 31 January 1979. The most likely to succeed Boumediene were Mohammad Salah Yahiaoui and Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The latter had served as a foreign secretary at the United Nations for sixteen years. He was a prominent member of the Oujda clan and regarded as a pro-Western liberal. Yahiaoui was closely affiliated with the communists, permitting the Parti de l'Avant-Garde Socialiste (PAGS) to acquire jurisdiction over the mass trade union and youth organizations.[1]

In office, Bendjedid reduced the state's role in the economy and eased government surveillance of citizens. In the late 1980s, with the economy failing due to rapidly falling oil prices, tension rose between elements of the regime who supported Bendjedid's economic liberalization policies, and those who wanted a return to the statist model. In October, 1988, youth marches protesting the regime’s austerity policies, and shouting slogans against Benjedid, evolved into massive rioting which spread to Oran, Annaba and other cities; the military’s brutal suppression of the rioters left several hundred dead. Perhaps as a political survival strategy, Bendjedid then called for and began to implement a transition towards multi-party democracy. However in 1991 the military intervened to stop elections from bringing the Islamist Front Islamique du Salut (FIS) to power, forcing Bendjedid out of office and sparking a long and bloody Algerian Civil War.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Algeria:Anger of The Dispossessed, Martin Evans and John Phillips, Yale University Press, 2007, p. 114
  2. ^ El Mouradia, Chadli Ben Djedid

External links

Preceded by
Rabah Bitat
President of Algeria
1979–1992
Succeeded by
Muhammad Boudiaf

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