Historically, the elite enjoyed its greatest preeminence under
the socialist Boumediene regime, with its emphasis on heavy industrialization.
The elite includes civil service employees, the technocratic top
personnel in the state's major nationalized industries and enterprises
(e.g., the National Company for Research, Production, Transportation,
Processing, and Commercialization of Hydrocarbons and the National
Company for Electricity and Gas), and economic and financial planners
responsible for the national development program. Together these
elite groups are responsible for planning, developing, focusing,
and administering Algeria's economic and industrial sector. Having
expanded significantly under Boumediene, this sector contracted
substantially with the economic liberalization under Benjedid,
although it remained a vital force and, historically, the most
efficient and productive sector of the national elite. Because
personal contacts and privileged access to capital account for
personal status and class in Algeria, the administrative elite
and its networks represent a major factor in the political environment.
The administrative elite, although generally less politically
visible than the party and military elites, can directly influence
development by managing programs linked to economic growth and
Since the late 1980s, the administrative elite has provided a
pool of technocrats for the staff of both the civilian government
and the military presidency, which rely heavily on them in modernizing
Algeria's economy. At the same time, the administrative elite
has increasingly been plagued by factionalism.
The other major elements of the elite consist of the FLN and
the military. Within the FLN, the Party Congress is the highest
political organ. It consists of national delegates, representatives
from the various mass associations and professional unions, local
and regional elected officials, APN deputies, and military leaders.
The congress determines general party policy, adopts and revises
party statutes, and elects both the secretary general of the party
and its Central Committee. The Central Committee, which is divided
into various commissions, is an elected assembly that serves only
during recesses of the Party Congress.
The military, consisting primarily of the People's National Army
(Armée Nationale Populaire--ANP), has remained a constant force
in Algerian politics, at times quite visible, at times more subtle.
The military's most potent source of power emanates from its monopoly
of the coercive instruments of force. Equally significant, however,
is the military's symbolic role as "guardian of the revolution"
and guarantor of state stability. Its technical and administrative
skills have been critical to Algeria's political and economic
development. A certain domestic prestige stems from the military's
influential role in regional and international affairs. The military
is also very active in local and provincial affairs. Army officials
are represented on all major political institutions and frequently
have more influence in regional administration than do the civilian
Historically, the army has interfered only when conditions "necessitated"
military intervention to ensure the security of the state. In
January 1992, only days away from national legislative elections
that were likely to return a sweeping Islamist victory, the military
resurfaced politically in a highly visible manner. Anticipating
what the armed forces interpreted to be a "grave threat" to the
secular interests and political stability of the state and defying
the apparent government and national volition, the military demonstrated
that it alone would determine the course of Algerian politics.
Data as of December 1993