Algeria: 1999 Presidential Election in the Press

Le Point (France. 17 April 1999)

Abdelaziz Bouteflika: a profile

Born in Morocco near the Algerian border, Abdelaziz Bouteflika was part of the revolutionary commando unit led by Houari Boumedienne that helped to drive the French out of Algeria. Mr Bouteflika, now 62 years old, was only 26 when he became foreign minister in 1963, a year after Algeria won independence from France. During his 16 years as Algeria's foreign minister, Mr Bouteflika became Boumedienne's right-hand man and was instrumental in shaping Algeria's identity as a regional leader within the international community. Since failing to succeed Boumedienne as president in 1978, Mr Bouteflika has spent many years in self-imposed exile in Geneva, as well as occasionally acting as an adviser to rulers in the Gulf region. In January 1994 the army offered Mr Bouteflika the presidency in the violent aftermath of the annulled election of 1991, which the Front islamique du salut (FIS) had appeared about to win. At that time, Mr Bouteflika balked at the conditions under which the offer was made and the need to receive the endorsement of the establishment's political parties, leaving the post to be filled by Liamine Zeroual. He now appears to have overcome these qualms, and was sworn in as president on April 27th 1999.

Presidential election results, Apr 1999

Candidate No. of votes % of vote
Abdelaziz Bouteflika 7,442,139 73.8
Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi 1,264,094 12.5
Saad Abdallah Djaballah398,416 3.9
Hocine Mohand Ait Ahmed319,523 3.2
Mouloud Hamrouche311,908 3.1
Mokdad Sifi 226,371 2.2
Youcef el-Khatib 122,826 1.2
Total valid votes 10,085,277 100.0

Source: Ministry of the Interior, Local Government and Environment, Algiers.

In Algiers, the few Western reporters present witnessed what appeared to be a very low turnout, put by some at less than 20% at polling stations in the city centre. There were few surprises when initial official results showed that the highest turnout was registered in the isolated desert Tindouf province in the south-west (88.63%), while in Tizi Ouzou, capital of Berber-speaking Kabylie province, turnout was lowest at 5.73%. Five provinces that always deliver a block vote for the regime-Tissemsilt, Saida, El Tarf, El Bayadh and Khenchela- all registered official turnout figures of more than 80%. Only 33.1% of Algerian voters living abroad-who turned out in impressive numbers in 1995-bothered to vote, according to initial official data. According to the interior minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, 10,539,751 votes were cast, out of a total of 17,449,136 registered voters (which implies a turnout of 60.4%). Of the votes cast, 10,085,277 were valid.


al-Hayat (London, U.K.)

Der Spiegel (Germany, 19 April 1999)

al-Hayat (London, U.K.)

A Letter from Abbasi Madani to President Bouteflika

A 1998 Letter from Abbasi Madani to Armed Islamic Groups

Jeune Afrique (France)

Le Nouvel Observateur (France) [No 1797, du 15 au 21 Avril, 1999]

From Madani Merzaq, The Leader of Islamic Salvation Army (AIS) To President Bouteflika

Reaction of "Algerian Presidency" to Madani Merzaq's Announcement

Middle East & Islamic Studies,

Ali Houissa, The Middle East & Islamic Studies Bibliographer.