Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic

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Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic

الحكومة المؤقتة للجمهورية الجزائرية
Gouvernement provisoire de la République algérienne
Seal of Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic
Anthem: "Kassaman"
CapitalAlgiers (de jure until 1962)
Capital-in-exileCairo (1958-1960)
Tunis (1960-1962)
Common languagesArabic
GovernmentGovernment in exile
• 1958–1961
Ferhat Abbas
• 1961–1962
Benyoucef Benkhedda
Historical eraDecolonization of Africa
1 November 1954
• GPRA proclaimed
19 September 1958
19 March 1962
• GPRA seated in Algiers
1 July 1962
• Independence proclaimed
5 July 1962
25 September 1962
Preceded by
Succeeded by
French Algeria

The Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (Arabic: الحكومة المؤقتة للجمهورية الجزائرية‎, ح م ج ج; French: Gouvernement provisoire de la République algérienne) was the government-in-exile of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) during the latter part of the Algerian War of Independence (1954–62).

Creation and purpose[edit]

The GPRA was set up in Cairo, Egypt, by the FLN on September 19, 1958, four years into the Algerian War of Independence.[1] Its first President was the moderate nationalist Ferhat Abbas, who had for decades insisted on trying to peacefully reform the French colonial system, before finally despairing and joining the FLN's armed struggle. He was once re-elected to the post, in 1960, but as early as the following year he was sidelined and replaced by Benyoucef Benkhedda, who held the presidency as Algeria was declared independent.

The purpose of the GPRA was to serve as a diplomatic and political tool for the FLN. It allowed sympathetic governments to extend official recognition to it (among those that did were neighbouring Morocco and Tunisia, as well as Nasserite Egypt, other Arab countries, and Pakistan). Its headquarters were located in Tunis, but diplomats were posted in most major world capitals to try to lobby governments and organize local support groups. It was partly intended to serve as a preemptive diplomatic strike against a proposal by French President Charles de Gaulle to hold a referendum by which Algeria would be given an autonomous status within France.[2]

Post-independence dissolution[edit]

After the war, infighting broke out in FLN ranks. Benkhedda of the GPRA briefly held power in Algiers, but there was no unified power for the whole country. In late 1962, the GPRA was disbanded, after Ahmed Ben Bella seized power through forming a rival institution (a Political Bureau of the FLN) with the backing of the Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN), controlled by Col. Houari Boumédiène. An attempt by GPRA politicians and loyal guerrilla units to resist the military-backed takeover was crushed in a short but intense burst of internal fighting. A compromise forced by Boumédiène saw most of the provisional government enter an expanded Political Bureau, and the GPRA itself was dissolved.[3] A one-party state under Ben Bella's command was then set up, after a constitution had been approved for the new republic.[4]

While some[who?] argue that this broke the institutional continuity between the war-time GPRA and the present Algerian state, the Algerian presidency and government is still normally regarded as the GPRA's post-independence successor.

List of members of the GPRA[edit]

The GPRA was reformed twice, in 1960 and 1961, with the change of ministers and portfolios to some extent reflecting the shifts of power within the FLN. Below is a list of the three versions of the GPRA.[5]

From left to right: Mohamed Khider, Mustafa Lacheraf, Hocine Aït Ahmed, Mohamed Boudiaf and Ahmed Ben Bella. The picture was taken after their arrest by France.

The first GPRA: 1958–60[edit]

The second GPRA: 1960–61[edit]

The third GPRA: 1961–62[edit]