GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Government: Revised constitution of February
1989, suspended by military government in January 1992, ended
commitment to socialism embodied in National Charter and earlier
constitutions. Political system based on strong presidential rule;
provides in theory for multiparty system, separation of religious
institution and state, and military subordination to civilian
Politics: Liberalizing government of President
Chadli Benjedid toppled by military in January 1992. Presidency
replaced by military-dominated High Council of State. Emergency
rule enacted to prevent national electoral victory by Islamist
(fundamentalist) movement, spearheaded by Islamic Salvation Front.
In January 1994, military named General Lamine Zeroual president;
High Council of State abolished. Zeroual to rule in coordination
with High Security Council. Political violence and terrorism endemic,
including killings of numerous foreigners since 1992. Some legislative
functions exercised by National Transitional Council, created
in May 1994; 200-member body provided for political party, trade
union, professional, and civil service representation.
Judicial System: Legal system derived from French
and Arabic legal traditions and influenced by socialism. Supreme
Court of four chambers reviews application of law by forty-eight
provincial courts and lower tribunals. Civilian judicial system
effectively replaced by military tribunals in January 1992.
Administrative Divisions: Forty-eight provinces
administered by centrally appointed governors. In 1994 no elected
assemblies existed at national, provincial, or communal level.
Foreign Relations: Policy founded on nonalignment,
national self-determination, and support for Palestinian Liberation
Organization in Arab-Israeli dispute. Membership in League of
Arab States and Organization of African Unity. Relations with
West improved during 1980s and early 1990s, primarily as result
of expanding trade and increasing economic cooperation.
Data as of December 1993