Algeria. Former Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Bouteflika,
supported by the two ruling parties National Democratic
Assembly (Rassemblement National Democratique, RND) and
National Liberation Front (Front de Libération National,
FLN) received 73.8% of the vote in the April 15 presidential
election. According to
Countryaah official website, the opposition boycotted the election, citing that
the military, which supported Bouteflika, had interfered in
the electoral process. The government claimed that over 60%
of voters had voted despite the boycott, but both domestic
and foreign observers questioned that figure. After two
years of secret negotiations between the government and the
Islamic Rescue Front (Front Islamique du Salut, FIS), the
FIS military branch announced the Islamic Rescue Army (Armée
Islamique du Salut, AIS) in June that it ceased its military
fight against the state. At the same time, Bouteflika
presented a peace plan that included, among other things.
meant that for six months from mid-July, the government
would offer amnesty to Islamists who wanted to quit the
armed struggle and who did not commit violence against
civilians. Bouteflika emphasized that FIS would remain an
illegal organization. The peace plan was approved by
Parliament and then by 98.6% of voters in a referendum on
September 16. The turnout was 85%.
At the end of October, more than 1,100 militant Islamists
were reported to have surrendered, most of them defunct
members of the Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Armée,
GIA). Several hundred Islamists had also been released from
prison. However, Islamist groups that opposed the peace
plan, especially the GIA and Da'wa wal Jihad (Call and
Fight), continued to attack civilians and military targets.
Abdadir Hashani, one of the FIS leaders and opponents of the
peace plan, was shot dead in November by an unknown man.
Many Islamists suspected that the government was behind the
murder. Violence against civilians escalated, and in
December, the FIS senior leadership urged the organization's
supporters not to accept the offer of amnesty.
Internationally, Bouteflika made it clear that he wanted
to give Algeria a more active role in the Arab world. In
May, representatives of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco
and Tunisia met in Algeria under the Arab Maghreb Union
(AMU). However, relations with Morocco deteriorated in
September, when Bouteflika accused the country of giving up
its territory as a base for militant Islamists.
On July 28, the stock exchange opened in Algiers. The
first listed company was the pharmaceutical company Saidal.
At the end of December, former Finance Minister Ahmad
Benbitur (born 1945) was appointed Prime Minister.