President of Algeria from 1979 to 1992.

Born near Annaba on 14 April 1929, in the 1950s he joined the National Liberation Front (FLN) fighting for independence from France, and served in military commands under its two main leaders, Ahmed Ben Bella and Houari Boumédienne. (Chadli Benjedid is apparently a nom de guerre but I haven't got his original name.) With independence in 1962 they overthrew the moderate provisional government and entrenched the rule of the socialist FLN.

When Boumédienne seized power from Ben Bella in 1965, Chadli was brought into the Revolutionary Council, and promoted to colonel in 1969. He was appointed defence minister in November 1978, shortly before Boumédienne's death. After an interim period (acting president Rabah Bitat) he was chosen as president on 9 February 1979.

Re-elected in 1984 and 1988, he to some extent liberalized the country and economy and introduced some democratic reforms. However, the Islamist movement was growing in power. In legislative elections of 28 December 1991 the main Islamic fundamentalist party appeared to gain a majority, and would have won power had run-off elections taken place. President Chadli* was too conciliatory to the Islamic party leaders, and military hard-liners pressured him, leading to his resignation on 12 January 1992. The violent civil war in Algeria this led to continues to this day.

< Houari Boumédienne - Algeria - Muhammad Boudiaf >

* For some unknown reason he was usually referred to as President Chadli rather than President Benjedid.

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