INDEPENDENT ALGERIA, 1962-92
In preparation for independence, the CNRA had met in Tripoli
in May 1962 to work out a plan for the FLN's transition from a
liberation movement to a political party. The Tripoli Program
called for land reform, the large-scale nationalization of industry
and services, and a strong commitment to nonalignment and anticolonialism
in foreign relations. The platform also envisioned the FLN as
a mass organization broad enough to encompass all nationalist
groups. Adoption of the Tripoli Program notwithstanding, deep
personal and ideological divisions surfaced within the FLN as
the war drew to a close and the date for independence approached.
Competition and confrontation among various factions not only
deprived the FLN of a leadership that spoke with a single voice,
but also almost resulted in full-scale civil war. According to
historian John Ruedy, these factions, or "clans" did not embody
"family or regional loyalties, as in the Arab East, because the
generations-long detribalization of Algeria had been too thorough.
Rather, they represented relationships based on school, wartime
or other networking."
The ALN commanders and the GPRA struggled for power, including
an unsuccessful attempt to dismiss Colonel Houari Boumediene,
chief of staff of the ALN in Morocco. Boumediene formed an alliance
with Ben Bella, who together with Khider and Bitat, announced
the formation of the Political Bureau (Bureau Politique) as a
rival government to the GPRA, which had installed itself in Algiers
as the Provisional Executive. Boumediene's forces entered Algiers
in September, where he was joined by Ben Bella, who quickly consolidated
his power. Ben Bella purged his political opponents from the single
slate of candidates for the forthcoming National Assembly elections.
However, underlying opposition to the Political Bureau and to
the absence of alternative candidates was manifested in an 18
percent abstention rate nationwide that rose to 36 percent of
the electorate in Algiers.
The creation of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria
was formally proclaimed at the opening session of the National
Assembly on September 25, 1962. Abbas, a moderate unconnected
with the Political Bureau, was elected president of the assembly
by the delegates. On the following day, after being named premier,
Ben Bella formed a cabinet that was representative of the Political
Bureau but that also included Boumediene as defense minister as
well as other members of the so-called Oujda Group, who had served
under him with the external forces in Morocco. Ben Bella, Boumediene,
and Khider initially formed a triumvirate linking the leadership
of the three power bases--the army, the party, and the government,
respectively. However, Ben Bella's ambitions and authoritarian
tendencies were to lead the triumvirate to unravel and provoke
increasing discontent among Algerians.
Data as of December 1993