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    Houari Boumediene

    Houari Boumediene

    Houari Boumediene, original name Mohammed Ben Brahim Boukharrouba, (born Aug. 23, 1927, Clauzel, near Guelma, Algeria - died Dec. 27, 1978, Algiers), army officer who became president of Algeria in June 1965 following the overthrow of Ahmed Ben Bella.

    Bomediene’s service to Algeria began in the 1950s, during his country’s struggle for independence from France, when, after studying at al-Azhar University in Cairo, he joined the revolution and adopted the name Houari Boumediene. The  National Liberation Front divided the country into six military districts, and Boumediene commanded the fifth, the one around Oran. In 1960 he became chief of staff of the National Liberation Army, and he centred his efforts on raising an Algerian army on the Moroccan and Tunisian borders, out of reach of the French.

    After a peace treaty was signed with France in March 1962, tension among the Algerian leaders increased, and that September, Boumediene occupied Algiers in support of Ahmed Ben Bella. Ben Bella became president later in that year, and Boumediene was named minister of defense and vice-president. 

    Conflicts developed between the two leaders, and on the 19 June 1965 Boumediene carried out a coup against Ben Bella and installed himself as president. Boumediene lacked widespread popular support, and he governed at first through a 26-member revolutionary council. As a result his leadership was weak and indecisive, but after an attempt by military officers to overthrow his regime failed in December 1967, he asserted his direct and undisputed leadership of Algeria.

    In 1971 he imposed state control on the oil industry, at the cost of ending Algeria’s special relationship with France. In 1976 his government issued a National Charter and then a new constitution, both adopted by referendum. Negotiating important industrial contracts with Western countries and at the same time maintaining close but independent relations with the Soviet bloc, Boumediene became a leading figure in the nonaligned movement.

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    Item Reviewed: Houari Boumediene Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Algeria Gate
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