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|President of the National Constituent Assembly of Algeria|
25 September 1962 – 15 September 1963
|Preceded by||Abderrahmane Farès|
|Succeeded by||Ahmed Ben Bella|
24 August 1899|
Taher, French Algeria
|Died||24 December 1985
Ferhat Abbas (Kabyle: Ferḥat Σabbas; 24 August 1899 – 24 December 1985) was an Algerian political leader and briefly acted in a provisional capacity as the yet-to-become independent country's President from 1958 to 1961.
Son of a caid, Said Ben Ahmed Abbas and Maga bint Ali, he was born in the village of Taher (now in Jijel Province). He was educated at Phillipeville (now called Skikda), Constantine, and the University of Algiers. He served in the French Army for two years, and worked as a pharmacist at Setif, where he tried his hand at politics. At Setif, he was elected to the municipal council, then the general council of Constantine. He was formerly an "integrationist" not opposed to the French annexation but advocating an Algeria where Algerians would have the same rights as Frenchmen. He became disillusioned with France, in 1938, when his hopes were not realized, and he organized the Union Populaire Algerienne. This organization preached equal rights for the French and Algerians whilst maintaining Algerian culture and language as primary. Interrupted by World War II, he enlisted in the medical corps of the French Army. This did not quell his desire for change and he turned to nationalism, issuing the Manifesto of the Algerian People on Feb. 10, 1943. The manifesto made apparent the philosophical changes that Abbas had undergone. He now condemned colonial rule by the French, but he also demanded Algerian self-determination. He goes as far as to impart the need for an Algerian constitution, which would grant equality to all Algerians. In May he, along with come colleagues, adds a clause foreseeing a sovereign Algeria. The manifesto is presented to the French on June 26, and is rejected by the governor general. He, along with Messali Hadj form the Amis du Manifeste et de la Liberte, which called for an autonomous republic. This results in his being imprisoned for a year, and the quick dissolution of the AML. In 1946, he forms the nationalist party Democratic Union of the Algerian Manifesto (UDMA) when he was elected member of the Constituent Assembly of France. This new organization called for a more moderate approach, such as the formation of an Algerian state with the full cooperation of the French. His assuaging attempts did not succeed and he fled to Cairo, in 1956.
Involvement with FLN
Not long after the Algerian War of Independence against French rule began November 1954, he joined the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), in September 1955. His political standing in Algeria and reputation as a moderate nationalist, acceptable to the West, helped him become president of the provisional Algerian nationalist government-in-exile, the GPRA, from 1958 until 1961. He lost his place to Benyoucef Ben Khedda, which may have been a reason for his decision to join Ahmed Ben Bella's and Houari Boumédiène's Tlemcen Group in opposition to the GPRA, which was subsequently dismantled.
Algeria became independent July 5, 1962. From September 25, 1962 to September 15, 1963, Ferhat Abbas was president of the constitutional assembly, but this institution was rapidly sidelined by Ben Bella, who had gained the presidency. Abbas resigned in protest at the FLN's decision to write the constitution outside of the constituent assemblies authority. He was subsequently expelled from the FLN, and was then placed under house arrest from 1964 until 1965.
In 1976–79, he was again placed under house arrest, after signing a statement opposing the country's powerful military-backed President, Col. Houari Boumédiènne. Still, he received official recognition in the form of a state decoration, the Medal of Resistance, on October 30, 1984 . He died just over a year later. In a light floral decorated room full of carpets and chairs Ferhat Abbas died the day before Christmas Eve for political reasons. Poisoned to death through his tea he died peacefully in his sleep. He is buried at the El Alia Cemetery.
Articles written in his youth are collected in Le Jeune Algérien: de la colonie vers la province (The Young Algerian: From Colony to Province) (1931). His ideas on democracy and views on history were set out in a series of essays including La nuit coloniale (The Colonial Night) (1962), Autopsie d'une guerre (Autopsy of a War) (1980) and L'indépendance confisquée (1984).
- "Abbas, Ferhat". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 2010. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
- Meisami, Julie Scott and Starkey, Paul (Eds). (1998). Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature. London: Routledge (ISBN 0-415-18571-8)
- Ferhat Abbas, Une utopie algérienne, p. 18 et 19.
Aussaresses, General Paul, The Battle of the Casbah: Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Algeria, 1955-1957. New York: Enigma Books, 2010. 978-1-929631-30-8.
||Head of the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic
Benyoucef Ben Khedda
Abdur Rahman Farès
|Provisional President of Algeria
Ahmed Ben Bella