Algeria After Independence Essay

1282 words - 5 pages

After independence (1962-1999)
The Evian Accords which were signed in 1962 giving Algeria immediate independence and French aid to help reconstruct the country. The French Sahara with its oil resources was also handed over to Algeria. In return the FLN guaranteed protection and civil rights for the French Algerians choosing to remain in the country, and the option of choosing either French or Algerian nationality after three years.
Eight years of war had shattered Algeria. There had been more than one million Algerian casualties and nearly two million Algerians had lost their homes. For over a century the French had deprived the Algerians of any but the most minimal opportunity to become involved in its infrastructure and institutions. Algerians had been made a subclass of servants, unskilled labourers and peasants. The departure of the French left the country without the skilled labour to keep the country running.
At the same time, internal conflicts within the FLN that had been set aside during the war emerged and a power struggle between various factions of the FLN flared up. Ahmed Ben Bella, with the support of Colonel Houari Boumedienne, the National Liberation Army chief of staff, emerged as the winner and was elected the first president of Algeria in 1962. The country he presided over had been established as an Arab-Islamic socialist state with a single party political system, the FLN being the only legal party. The FLN was to exercise collective leadership and rule the country from a central political bureau. All the fashionable accoutrements of post-colonial socialist government were activated, including centralization, nationalization of private industry and land reform. A constitution was passed by popular referendum in 1963 which gave the president wide-ranging powers and few restraints.
During his three years as President of Algeria, Ben Bella made some attempts to revive Algeria, but eventually succumbed to the vanity of international politics and domestic autocracy. He never really grappled with the country's hard-core problems of unemployment and the deficit of technical and administrative skills that prevented the country becoming a modern nation.
In 1965 Defence Minister Houari Boumedienne staged a bloodless coup which removed Ben Bella from power. He formed a 26-member Council of Revolution which became the country's highest government body, with the army displacing the FLN as the overriding political influence.
Although Boumedienne held the reins of power tightly until his death in 1978, he also established a more authentically collective form of leadership which finally began to come to grips with building a modern Algeria. The country's oil resources were developed and an industrial sector was established. Education and literacy became a focus of concentration and agricultural land reform continued. In the process the Boumedienne government developed a socialist political system which was codified in a constitution in...

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