Algeria. Abdelaziz Bouteflika was re-elected on April 8 for another five-year term in the presidential post. Bouteflika received almost 85% of the vote, while its closest competitor, former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, received only 7%. The support for Bouteflika was deemed to be based on, among other things, that the militant Islamists have significantly reduced their attacks following the peace agreement that Bouteflika initiated in 1999.
According to CountryAAH, the total population in Algeria is 43,851,055 people in 2020. The country’s largest party FLN (Front de Libération Nationale) had during the election movement split into a Bouteflika and a Benflistrogen faction. European election observers largely approved the election.
The only active guerrilla group of importance, the GSPC (Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat), weakened during the year. In June, the group’s top leader, Nabil Sahrawi, was killed in fighting with government troops east of Algiers. The new 33-year-old former academic Abu Mussab Abd al-Wadud was appointed as new leader. Another of the group’s leadership figures, Amari Sayf, had been captured in May by a guerrilla group in neighboring Chad for first handing over to Libya and then on to Algerian police.
The human rights organization The Norwegian Refugee Council reported in March that the unrest had caused at least 1 million Algerians to flee in their own country. Most of the refugees lived in the slums of big cities where, according to the organization, the government did very little to help them.
Algiers, fr. Algiers, arab. al-Jazair ‘Islands’, the capital of Algeria; 3.4 million residents (2011). The town is in the middle of the Algerian Mediterranean coast on the slopes of Mount Sahel; the location gives it the character of a huge white amphitheater. Around the old Muslim district with narrow, crooked streets, the modern city has emerged with wide boulevards in the north-south direction; these are lined with modern residential and office buildings in southern European style. The most beautiful view of the city is available from the city’s bazaar district, the Kashba of 1590. It is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
By the independence of Algeria in 1962, a large part of the city’s Europeans (Frenchmen) left the capital; they made up about half the population. However, the large immigration from rural areas meant equalization of the population in a few years. Algiers is the country’s main port city as well as the economic, political and cultural center.
The Arabic name of the city is due to some small islands that were originally a little off the coast, but are now either connected to it or disappeared by the construction of the city’s modern port.
Algiers was founded by the Phoenicians and then expanded by the Romans under the name of Icosium. After the Arab conquest, the city remained an important commercial and port city. In the 1500-h. it was for a short time on Spanish hands, but became subject to the Turks from the middle of the century. When Algiers was conquered by France in 1830, the city became the seat of parts of the French administration that, until Algeria’s independence in 1962, ruled the country.
During World War II, the headquarters of the Allied forces were located in Algiers. In the 1950’s, the city was the center of the Algerian War of Independence against France and, after independence, became the seat of the country’s government and national assembly. The city houses a number of universities and colleges and has experienced a strong growth since 1962.