Ruler of Algeria between 1965 and 1978. He was defence minister to the first president, Ahmed Ben Bella, and overthrew him on 19 June 1965. He took the title of Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, until in December 1976 he was elected president, which he continued as until his death on 27 December 1978. He was a major world figure in the non-aligned and socialist movements.
Born Mohammed Ben Brahim Boukharouba on 23 August 1932 (officially - other sources claim other years), near Guelma, he studied at Al Azhar University in Cairo. In 1955 he returned to Algeria as a member of the National Liberation Front (FLN) founded by Ahmed Ben Bella, adopted the nom de guerre of Houari Boumédienne, and took up command of the Oran region, the FLN's youngest commander.
He became chief of staff of the FLN in 1960, building up an Algerian army in the independent states of Tunisia and Morocco. With the peace accords of 1962 he entered the FLN government as defence minister. After his coup d'état he pursued socialist policies such as nationalization, especially of the oil industry. He died in Algiers after medical treatment in Moscow, and was succeeded by Colonel Chadli Benjedid.
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