|4th President of Algeria|
16 November 1995 – 27 April 1999
Acting: 30 January 1994 – 16 November 1995
|Prime Minister||Mokdad Sifi
|Preceded by||Ali Kafi|
|Succeeded by||Abdelaziz Bouteflika|
3 July 1941 |
He was born in Batna and joined the National Liberation Army in 1957, at the age of 16, to fight French rule of Algeria. After independence, he received training in Cairo, Moscow, and Paris. In 1975, he took command of a military school in Batna, then in 1981 of the Cherchell Military Academy. He was then made commander of the Tamanrasset military region in 1982, then the Moroccan border in 1984, then Constantine in 1987. He became a general in 1988, then head of ground forces in 1989. After disagreeing with President Chadli Bendjedid about proposals for army reorganisation, he quit in 1990, and briefly became ambassador to Romania. However, after Bendjedid forced resignation in January 1992, his career prospects became more promising. In July 1993, he became Minister of Defense; in January 1994 he was promoted to head of the High Council of State. In November 1995, he was elected President, a post which he retained until the next elections. He was reputed to be politically dialoguist, supporting a partly negotiated solution to the Algerian Civil War. On December 25, 1994, Zéroual reluctantly allowed hijacked Air France Flight 8969 to leave Algerian territory after 3 civilians, including a French embassy chef, were murdered by the four hijackers.
Although some urged Zéroual to run in the 2009 presidential election, he said in a published statement on 14 January 2009 that he would not run, while also suggesting that it was not in the best interests of democracy for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a third term.
- William Maclean, "Algeria ex-leader will not run for top job", Reuters (IOL), 14 January 2009.
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