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1988–1992: Multipartism, Islamism and the Descent into Civil War

1988–1992: Multipartism, Islamism and the Descent into Civil War

Chapter:
(p.81) 1988–1992: Multipartism, Islamism and the Descent into Civil War
Source:
Algeria
Author(s):
Malika Rahal
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781786940216.003.0005

Following the youth riots of October 1988, Algeria experienced the first serious democratic opening in the region, 20 years before the revolutions of Egypt and Tunisia. Many new parties were created, including the Islamist FIS (Front islamique du Salut) which won the first round of the legislative elections interrupted by the military coup that would end the democratic experience in January 1992; other parties that had existed underground came out into the open, such as the communist Parti de l’avant-garde socialiste (PAGS). Following communist itineraries, this article will show the multiple tensions at stake in Algeria during this brief period: democratization, collapse of communism, the emergence of Islamism, and the descent into civil war, in which the communists were amongst the first targets of assassinations. Evolutions in the PAGS exemplify the lasting divisions in the country: between Islamists and secularists on the one hand; and amongst the non-Islamists, between those who, in the name of democracy, considered all Islamists to be the absolute enemy to be eradicated at all costs, and those who, in the name of democracy, did not.

Keywords:   Parti de l’avant-garde socialiste (PAGS)., Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), Algerian Civil War, Democracy

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