In 1989 in Algeria, a pluralist democracy replaced an authoritarian system. How this democratic experiment was organized? And how has it failed three years later? A key book to understand the singular position of Algeria and its "stability" during the "Arab revolutions". Read More
More than twenty years before the 'Arab Spring', Algeria's single-party regime suddenly collapsed, giving way to a multi-party system. How did the region’s first democratic experiment come about? And how did it fail, a mere three years later?
This work outlines the trajectory of that democratic process, working with a corpus of unparalleled size and scope: interviews with the leaders of the major political parties (FLN, FIS, RCD, FFS), ministers and generals, as well as local and departmental civil servants; numerous original archives (from the FIS and the Ministry of the Interior in particular), press documentation and legal texts. It describes how new political rules were implemented and how qualified actors were selected to participate in the electoral contest, as well as the various attempts to establish a pluralist political system, characterised by an oscillation between trust and distrust.
As an experiment in democratic change, where all the conditions necessary for such a transition were tested, the Algerian example was not the linear product of a regime crisis: on the contrary, Algerian democracy was the outcome of an erratic and unpredictable process, each phase of which produced new configurations of actors who were all caught up in a larger dynamic mastered by no one.
This book provides crucial insight into Algeria’s unique position, as well as its 'stability’ during the ‘Arab Spring’. It likewise offers a more informed perspective on the current events unfolding in the Arab world.