Algeria in the 1970’s

In the first half of the 1970s, Algerian political life was characterized by the consolidation of the regime and the strengthening of the personal authority of Bū Midyan (Boumedienne). The head of the government came to concentrate an ever-increasing number of powers in his own person, leaving alongside him, as the only prominent political figure, the Foreign Minister Bū Taflīqa. In November 1972, in the course of a message to the nation, Bū Midyan underlined the need for a profound evolution of the party (National Liberation Front, FLN), which should have taken place by radically transforming both the ways of leadership and the methods of action.

This phase of political reorganization was elaborated in the following years, and on June 19, 1975, in a speech to the cadres of the nation, Bū Midyan announced three important decisions: the elaboration of a National Charter to be submitted to popular consultation; election of the President of the Republic; preparation of the congress of the FLN.

The referendum for the approval of the National Charter took place on June 27, 1976, obtaining a plebiscite of consensus. Inspired by the principles of this Charter, in the same year (November 22) a new constitution was proclaimed, replacing that of 1963. The election of the President of the Republic took place on the following 10 December and sanctioned the victory of Bū Midyan, the sole candidate of the FLN, which received 99% of the votes. As for the FLN congress, Bū Midyan failed to see its implementation, as towards the end of 1978 he was struck by a serious illness, which was to lead to his death on December 27 of the same year.

The most significant event in the foreign policy of the Bū Midyan management was represented by the harsh confrontation with Morocco and Mauritania on the question of the Western Sahara. THERE. he opposed the annexation of the region by the two countries, guaranteeing full support to the Frente Polisario (Frente popular para la liberación de Saguia el Hamra y Rio de Oro) which was fighting for the independence of Western Sahara. In the first months of 1976, violent clashes between the armed forces of the Algeria and those of Morocco. In March of the same year, the Algeria officially recognized the Sahrawi Arabian Democratic Republic (proclaimed by the Polisario, with the consequent breakdown of diplomatic relations with Morocco and Mauritania). For Algeria 2003, please check

After the death of Bū Midyan, the to. he found himself having to face the serious problem of his succession, the solution of which was made even more difficult by the centralization of powers that the president had previously implemented. On January 27, 1979, the IV congress of the FLN opened, which among other things decided on the establishment of a Central Committee, to replace the old Council of the Revolution as the ” supreme authority of the party ”. As for the succession of Bū Midyan, two tendencies were confronted during the congress: that of Ṣalāḥ Yaḥyāwī, a radical socialist, and that considered more moderate by the Foreign Minister Bū Taflīqa. Despite the substantial prevalence of the Yaḥyāwī faction, a compromise solution was reached by electing Colonel Šadhilī (Chadli) Ben adīd to the post of party secretary general; Ben Hadid himself was also designated as the party’s sole candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. On 7 February 1979 the Algerian electorate sanctioned (with more than 94% of the votes) the appointment of Ben adīd to the presidency of the Republic.

The new head of state, while underlining the intention to guarantee continuity to Bū Midyan’s policy in the name of the “irreversible socialist option”, immediately expressed his intention not to centralize power in his own hands, appointing for the first time since the independence a prime minister (Colonel ῾Abd al-Ġanī). In the first years of his mandate, Ben adīd also had to vigorously tackle the problem of the complete Arabization of the country, to meet those social needs (especially promoted by students) which required a faster replacement of the French language in education, justice and civil administration.

Re-elected president of the Republic in January 1984 and December 1988, Ben adīd later had to face the resumption of activity by the opposition and put his hand to a revision of the National Charter, which marked the partial removal of the to. from the rigid socialism of Bū Midyan. But the profound socio-economic crisis the Algeria went through, caused above all by the worldwide drop in oil prices, caused popular discontent to explode in October 1988. The rigorous austerity policy implemented by Ben Hadid was the subject of violent mass protests which resulted in a real revolt in the main centers of the country.

In addition to the social and economic reasons, there were also claims of a religious nature, which called for a more rigorous respect for Muslim law or which even praised the creation of an Islamic republic. After the harsh repression by the army which caused about 500 victims, the government launched a series of institutional reforms aimed at introducing greater pluralism into the life of the country. While the constitutional reform approved by two successive referendums (November 1988, February 1989) established among other things the responsibility of the Prime Minister towards the Parliament, a new electoral law was passed (July 1989) which sanctioned multi-partyism. The administrative elections (June 1990) saw the clear affirmation of the newly formed Islamic Salvation Front.

In foreign policy, relations with Mauritania improved (diplomatic relations resumed in 1979) and with Morocco. On the occasion of the Gulf crisis, the Algeria, which had initially disapproved of the invasion of Kuwait by the Irāq, gradually changed its position, following the intervention of the UN, under the pressure of massive favorable demonstrations. to Ṣaddām Ḥussayn, while maintaining military neutrality.

Algeria in the 1970's