(b. 14 Apr. 1929).
President of Algeria 1979–92 Born into a peasant family in Bouteldja, he joined the movement for Algerian independence in 1955. As a protégé of Boumédienne, he quickly advanced within the ranks of the Front de Libération Nationale to succeed his mentor as its general secretary in 1979, when he also became President and Defence Secretary. He had to cope with an overexpanded socialist state sector, which could no longer be financed with declining oil revenues following the collapse of the world oil price from 1981. In response, he introduced market forces into the economy, though his attempts to reduce state expenditure were met with increasing popular hostility. This was fuelled by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, which became particularly dangerous when he allowed its articulation in a political party, the Islamic Salvation Front (Front Islamique du Salut, FIS). Following the victory of the FIS in the first round of multi‐party elections in December 1991, the military forced him to resign, on 14 January 1992, suspending the second round and declaring a state of emergency.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).