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Algeria

Population: 38 813 722

GDP: 215 700 000 000.00 $

Description

After more than a century of rule by France, Algerians fought through much of the 1950s to achieve independence in 1962. Algeria's primary political party, the National Liberation Front (FLN), was established in 1954 as part of the struggle for independence and has largely dominated politics since.

 

The Government of Algeria in 1988 instituted a multi-party system in response to public unrest, but the surprising first round success of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the December 1991 balloting led the Algerian army to intervene and postpone the second round of elections to prevent what the secular elite feared would be an extremist-led government from assuming power.

 

The army began a crackdown on the FIS that spurred FIS supporters to begin attacking government targets. Fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense violence from 1992-98, resulting in over 100,000 deaths - many attributed to indiscriminate massacres of villagers by extremists. The government gained the upper hand by the late-1990s, and FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded in January 2000. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, with the backing of the military, won the presidency in 1999 in an election widely viewed as fraudulent.

 

He was reelected to a second term in 2004 and overwhelmingly won a third term in 2009, after the government amended the constitution in 2008 to remove presidential term limits. Longstanding problems continue to face Bouteflika, including large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, unreliable electrical and water supplies, government inefficiencies and corruption, and the continuing activities of extremist militants.

 

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) in 2006 merged with al-Qa'ida to form al-Qa'ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, which has launched an ongoing series of kidnappings and bombings targeting the Algerian Government and Western interests. The government in 2011 introduced some political reforms in response to the Arab Spring, including lifting the 19-year-old state of emergency restrictions and increasing women's quotas for elected assemblies.

 

Parliamentary elections in May 2012 and municipal and provincial elections in November 2012 saw continued dominance by the FLN, with Islamist opposition parties performing poorly. Political protest activity in the country remained low in 2013, but small, sometimes violent socioeconomic demonstrations by disparate groups continued to be a common occurrence. Parliament in 2014 is expected to revise the constitution.

Population

 

Population: 38,813,722 (2014)

 

Nationality: noun: Algerian(s) adjective: Algerian

 

Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%. Although almost all Algerians are Berber in origin (not Arab), only a minority identify themselves as Berber, about 15% of the total population; these people live mostly in the mountainous region of Kabylie east of Algiers; the Berbers are also Muslim but identify with their Berber rather than Arab cultural heritage; Berbers have long agitated, sometimes violently, for autonomy; the government is unlikely to grant autonomy but has offered to begin sponsoring teaching Berber language in schools.

 

Languages:  Arabic (official), French (lingua franca), Berber dialects: Kabylie Berber (Tamazight), Chaouia Berber (Tachawit), Mzab Berber, Tuareg Berber (Tamahaq)

 

Religions: Muslim (official; predominantly Sunni) 99%, other (includes Christian and Jewish) <1% (2012 est.)

GDP

GDP: $215 700 000 000 billion (2013)

Governmental Structures

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - http://www.mae.dz

 

Ministry of Defense - http://www.mdn.dz

Military Organization

People's National Army (Armee Nationale Populaire, ANP), Land Forces (Forces Terrestres, FT), Navy of the Republic of Algeria (Marine de la Republique Algerienne, MRA), Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jaza'eriya, QJJ), Territorial Air Defense Force

Conflicts and Disputes

 

Algeria and many other states reject Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; the Polisario Front, exiled in Algeria, represents the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic; Algeria's border with Morocco remains an irritant to bilateral relations, each nation accusing the other of harboring militants and arms smuggling; dormant disputes include Libyan claims of about 32,000 sq km still reflected on its maps of southeastern Algeria and the National Liberation Front's (FLN) assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in southeastern Morocco.

 

Refugees (country of origin): 90,000 (Western Saharan Sahrawi, mostly living in Algerian-sponsored camps in the southwestern Algerian town of Tindouf) (2014).

Geographical Information and Map

 

Capital: Algiers

 

Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia. Algeria is the largest country in Africa.

 

Geographic coordinates:

28 00 N, 3 00 E.

 

Area:

total: 2,381,741 sq km

land: 2,381,741 sq km

water: 0 sq km.

 

Land boundaries:

total: 6,734 km

border countries: Libya 989 km, Mali 1,359 km, Mauritania 460 km, Morocco 1,900 km, Niger 951 km, Tunisia 1,034 km, Western Sahara 41 km.

 

Coastline: 998 km.

 

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc.