Chadli Bendjedid

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Chadli Bendjedid
Chadli.jpg
3rd President of Algeria
In office
9 February 1979 – 11 January 1992
Preceded by Rabah Bitat
Succeeded by Abdelmalek Benhabyles
Personal details
Born (1929-04-14)14 April 1929
Bouteldja, French Algeria
Died 6 October 2012(2012-10-06) (aged 83)
Algiers, Algeria
Political party FLN
Spouse(s) Halima Ben Aissa
Religion Sunni Islam
Military service
Allegiance Algeria
Service/branch Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN)
People's National Army (PNP)
Years of service 1954–1962 (ALN)
1962–1979 (PNP)
Rank Colonel
Battles/wars Algerian War

Chadli Bendjedid (Arabic: الشاذلي بن جديد‎‎; ALA-LC: ash-Shādhilī bin Jadīd; 14 April 1929 – 6 October 2012) was the third President of Algeria; his presidential term of office ran from 9 February 1979 to 11 January 1992.

Career[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Bendjedid was born in Bouteldja on 14 April 1929.[1] He served in the French Army as a non-commissioned officer and fought in Indochina.[1] He defected to the National Liberation Front (FLN) at the beginning of the Algerian War of Independence in 1954. A protégé of Houari Boumediene, Bendjedid was rewarded with the military command of the Oran, Algeria region in 1964.[1] After independence he rose through the ranks, becoming head of the 2nd military region in 1964 and Colonel in 1969.[2]

Ascent to presidency[edit]

Bendjedid was minister of defense from November 1978 to February 1979 and became president following the death of Boumédiènne. Bendjedid was a compromise candidate who came to power after the party leadership and presidency was contested at the fourth FLN congress held on 27 - 31 January 1979. The most likely to succeed Boumediene were Mohammad Salah Yahiaoui and Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The latter had served as a foreign secretary at the United Nations for sixteen years. He was a prominent member of the Oujda clan and regarded as a pro-Western liberal. Yahiaoui was closely affiliated with the communists, permitting the Parti de l'Avant-Garde Socialiste (PAGS) to acquire jurisdiction over the mass trade union and youth organizations.[1]

In office, Bendjedid reduced the state's role in the economy and eased government surveillance of citizens. In the late 1980s, with the economy failing due to rapidly falling oil prices, tension rose between elements of the regime who supported Bendjedid's economic liberalization policies, and those who wanted a return to the statist model. In October 1988, youth marches protesting the regime’s austerity policies and shouting slogans against Benjedid, evolved into massive rioting now known as the 1988 October Riots which spread to Oran, Annaba and other cities; the military’s brutal suppression of the rioters left several hundred dead.[3] Perhaps as a political survival strategy, Bendjedid then called for and began to implement a transition towards multi-party democracy.[3] However in 1991 the military intervened to stop elections from bringing the Islamist Front Islamique du Salut (FIS) to power, forcing Bendjedid out of office and sparking a long and bloody Algerian Civil War.[4]

Post-presidency life[edit]

Bendjedid was put under house arrest in Oran but freed in 1999 after the rise to the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. In a 2002 interview, he revealed his willingness to accept the results of the 1991 poll and work with the FIS while avoiding their takeover of all government institutions. He believed the constitution gave him the power to do so, but he failed to win over the support of the military establishment.[5]

He returned to the public eye in late 2008 when he gave a controversial speech at a conference in Al-Tarif, his hometown.[6] The publication of his memoirs was announced on 1 November 2012, coinciding with the 58th anniversary of the outbreak of the War of National Liberation.[7]

Illness and death[edit]

Bendjedid was hospitalized in Paris in January 2012 for cancer treatment and returned to hospital again in May and October 2012.[8] On 3 October 2012, Bendjedid was admitted to the intensive care unit of a military hospital in Ain-Naadja in Algiers. State-run media announced that he died of cancer on 6 October 2012.[9][10] He was buried at the El Alia Cemetery.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Algeria:Anger of The Dispossessed, Martin Evans and John Phillips, Yale University Press, 2007, p. 114
  2. ^ El Mouradia, Chadli Ben Djedid
  3. ^ a b "Black October" Riots in Algeria 1988
  4. ^ "Chadli Bendjedid". Telegraph. 7 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  5. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/oct/15/chadli-bendjedid
  6. ^ Revolutionary ghosts Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue 927, 25–31 December 2008.
  7. ^ "Chadli Bendjedid raconte sa vie". Jeune Afrique. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Former Algerian President Chadli Bendjedid dies". Al Arabiya (Algiers). AFP. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Algeria ex-president Chadli Bendjedid dies". BBC. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Algerian president overthrown in '92 coup dies". Huffington Post. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Rabah Bitat
President of Algeria
1979–1992
Succeeded by
Abdelmalek Benhabyles