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Algeria

Yearbook 1999

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.

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