Algeria endorses President's plan to end seven-year civil war

AN OVERWHELMING public endorsement of his strategy to end Algeria's seven-year civil war has given President Abdelaziz Bouteflika a resounding mandate to embark on a wider, root-and-branch reform of the country.

The full results of Thursday's referendum showed yesterday that over 85 per cent of Algerians had cast their vote. Of these almost 99 per cent had backed the President's proposals, which are centred on a broad amnesty for Islamic insurgents who have opposed the government - though not for those responsible for the atrocities perpetrated in the conflict, which has left more than 100,000 people killed since 1992. The outcome was immediately welcomed by Mr Bouteflika's supporters in Algeria and abroad. Hubert Vedrine, Foreign Minister of Algeria's former colonial ruler, France, declared it an "expression of the immense expectations of the Algerian people", which would only reinforce the President's authority.

Last night, Mr Bouteflika was due to announce a new government intended to implement his plans to reduce corruption, revive the economy and restore popular trust in the state.

But the crucial, unanswered question concerns the attitude of the military, supreme arbiters of power in Algeria since independence in 1962. The army has hitherto severely circumscribed presidents' freedom of action. But Mr Bouteflika has warned he will resign if prevented from exercising the powers assigned to him by the constitution.

Doubts about the military's reaction explain the cool response to the referendum result from the banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which was poised to win the 1992 general election. The poll's cancellation triggered the war with the radical guerrilla groups. "Will the military support the option chosen by the majority?" asked the FIS leader, Abdelkader Hachani, voicing widespread fears that even now the generals - informally but universally known as le pouvoir - will attempt to thwart the popular will.

Most analysts, however, believe that Mr Bouteflika's position has been greatly strengthened and that any move against him would risk plunging the country into a renewed cycle of violence. As it is, the violence continues, albeit at a much slower pace. About 250 people have died since 1 August, mostly in the countryside, far from the big towns.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Toure could leave Manchester City in the summer, claims his agent
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior C++ Developer

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Senior C++ Developer – L...

Part Time SEN Teacher

£120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you looking for a Part Time S...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Client Services Associate (MS Office, Analysis, Graduate)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client Services Associate (Microsoft Office, Ana...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz