Army, State and Nation in Algeria

Abstract : Ever since Independence in 1962, the army has played a critical role in the political life of Algeria. "The army's prominence is based on three factors: its historical legitimacy, the personal popularity and charisma of Colonel Houari Boumediene, and the army's populist discourse, which offered the prospect of a form of social and economic development oriented towards poverty alleviation. By the start of crisis in the 1980s, the historical legitimacy of the army had declined with the renewal of succeeding generations. Having failed to deliver on its promises, the populist discourse had also lost its credibility and influence.[1] From being based on the charismatic leadership of a popular figure, the Algerian regime evolved into a military oligarchy after the death of Boumédiene in 1978. The appointment of the notably uncharismatic and politically unambitious officer, Colonel Chadli Bendjedid, as President in 1978 was to lead the regime into a particularly violent period of crisis. In an effort to escape from this dead-end, the same regime that had appointed Bendjedid then nominated Abdelaziz Bouteflika as President. By doing so, the regime expressed the desire to turn back the clock and return to the successes of the past, by choosing in Bouteflika a former 'brother in arms' of Boumediene.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 3:58:43 PM
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Lahouari Addi. Army, State and Nation in Algeria. The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy., Zed books, New-York, USA, pp.159-178, 2001. ⟨halshs-00398637⟩

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