Africa Notes: Algeria After the Election: A Giant Small Step - July 1996
July 1, 1996
Algeria has been an exceptionally visible policy concern in recent years because of the striking contrasts and sharp issues it presents. This seemingly vigorous country's descent beginning in 1988 into severe violence and repression came as a shock to Algerian leaders and foreign observers alike. The climb out of this near-collapse of state legitimacy has been rough and slow. The danger of an Isla mist overthrow of the government seems over, some encouraging progress in economic reform has been achieved, and in November 1995 Algeria became the first Arab nation to conduct a multicandidate presidential election, with open campaigning. But President Liamine Zeroual has not taken advantage of the opening afforded him by his landslide victory to open a broad dialogue with all political forces toward reconstituting a mutually acceptable political system, and violence in 1996 (after a postelection lull) has risen again to significant levels.