Algeria

country in North Africa
(Redirected from Parliament of Algeria)

Algeria, officially known as the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country located in North Africa. It is the largest country in Africa and the tenth largest in the world,  spanning an area of 2,381,741 square kilometers (919,595 sq mi). The country is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Tunisia and Libya to the northeast, Niger to the southeast, Mali and Mauritania to the southwest, Western Sahara to the west, and Morocco to the northwest.

People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

  • الجمهورية الجزائرية الديمقراطية الشعبية  (Arabic)
    al-Jumhūriyya al-Jazāʾiriyya ad-Dīmuqrāṭiyya aš‑Šaʿbiyya

  • République algérienne démocratique et populaire  (French)

  • ⵜⴰⴳⴷⵓⴷⴰ ⵜⴰⵎⴳⴷⴰⵢⵜ ⵜⴰⵖⵔⴼⴰⵏⵜ ⵜⴰⴷⵣⴰⵢⵔⵉⵢⵜ  (Berber)
    Tagduda tamegdayt taɣerfant tazzayrit
Flag of Algeria
Motto: بالشّعب وللشّعب
("By the people and for the people")[1][2]
Anthem: Kassaman
(English: "We Pledge")
Location of  Algeria  (dark green)
Location of  Algeria  (dark green)
Capital
and largest city
Algiers
36°42′N 3°13′E / 36.700°N 3.217°E / 36.700; 3.217
Official languagesArabicBerber
Other languagesAlgerian Arabic (Darja) (lingua franca)
French (administration, business and education)[3] , Kabyle
Ethnic groups
Religion
Demonym(s)Algerian
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential constitutional republic
• President
Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Nadir Larbaoui
Salah Goudjil
Ibrahim Boughali
LegislatureParliament
Council of the Nation
People's National Assembly
Formation
960
1014
1235
1515
5 July 1830
• Independence from France
5 July 1962
Area
• Total
2,381,741 km2 (919,595 sq mi) (10th)
• Water (%)
1.1
Population
• 2021 estimate
44,700,000[5] (32nd)
• Density
17.7/km2 (45.8/sq mi) (168)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
• Total
Increase $684.649 billion[6] (35th)
• Per capita
Increase $15,765[6] (82nd)
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
Increase $183.687 billion[6] (53rd)
• Per capita
Increase $4,229[6] (109th)
Gini (2011)27.6[7][8]
low
HDI (2019)Decrease 0.748[9]
high · 91st
CurrencyDinar (DZD)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+213
ISO 3166 codeDZ
Internet TLD.dz
الجزائر.
Algeria on a world map

History

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Algeria has a rich and complex history that spans thousands of years, marked by various civilizations and significant events. Here’s an overview of the key periods in Algeria’s history:

Prehistoric and Ancient Periods

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  • Prehistoric Era: Evidence of human habitation in Algeria dates back to the Lower Paleolithic period, with notable archaeological sites such as the Tassili n'Ajjer, which features prehistoric cave art.
  • Phoenician and Carthaginian Influence: From around 1000 BCE, Phoenician traders established settlements along the coast, most notably the city of Carthage. By the 4th century BCE, Carthage had established a significant influence over the region.

Roman and Vandal Rule

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  • Roman Period: Following the Punic Wars, Rome took control of the region by the 2nd century BCE, incorporating it into the Roman Empire as part of the provinces of Numidia and Mauretania. Roman rule brought development, including the establishment of cities, roads, and agricultural projects.
  • Vandal Invasion: In the 5th century CE, the Vandals, a Germanic tribe, invaded and took control of the region, leading to a period of instability.

Byzantine and Islamic Periods

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  • Byzantine Rule: In the mid-6th century, the Byzantine Empire briefly regained control of the region but faced continuous resistance from local Berber tribes.
  • Islamic Conquest: In the 7th century, Arab armies began their conquest of North Africa, including Algeria. By the early 8th century, Islam had spread throughout the region, leading to the establishment of several Islamic states and dynasties, including the Rustamid, Zirid, and Hammadid dynasties.

Ottoman Period

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  • Ottoman Control: In the early 16th century, the Ottomans extended their empire to include Algeria, which became a semi-autonomous province under the rule of the Dey of Algiers. The Ottomans fortified the coast against European invasions and engaged in piracy, which became a significant part of the economy.

French Colonization

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  • French Invasion: In 1830, France invaded and began the colonization of Algeria. The colonization process was brutal and met with fierce resistance from the local population. The French established a settler colony, bringing in large numbers of European settlers and exploiting Algeria’s resources.
  • Resistance Movements: Prominent resistance leaders included Emir Abdelkader, who led a protracted struggle against French rule in the mid-19th century. Despite significant resistance, Algeria was fully integrated into France by 1848 and administered as part of French territory.

War of Independence

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  • National Liberation Front (FLN): The struggle for independence intensified after World War II, with the formation of the FLN in 1954. The Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962) was marked by guerrilla warfare, brutal repression by French forces, and significant civilian casualties.
  • Independence: The war ended with the Evian Accords in March 1962, leading to Algeria’s independence on July 5, 1962.

Post-Independence Era

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  • Early Years: After independence, Ahmed Ben Bella became the first President of Algeria. His government pursued socialist policies and aligned with the Soviet bloc. However, internal political struggles led to his overthrow by Houari Boumédiène in 1965.
  • Boumédiène’s Rule: Boumédiène ruled until his death in 1978, implementing extensive nationalization of industries and land reforms. His successor, Chadli Bendjedid, introduced economic liberalization and political reforms in the 1980s.
  • Civil War: The introduction of a multi-party system in 1989 led to the rise of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). After the FIS won the first round of parliamentary elections in 1991, the military intervened, leading to a decade-long civil war known as the "Black Decade," which resulted in significant loss of life and human rights abuses.

Contemporary Period

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  • Post-Civil War Recovery: Abdelaziz Bouteflika became President in 1999 and remained in power until 2019. His tenure saw efforts to rebuild the country, but also allegations of corruption and authoritarianism.
  • Recent Developments: In 2019, mass protests, known as the Hirak Movement, led to Bouteflika’s resignation. Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected president in December 2019, amid continuing demands for political reforms and greater democratic freedoms.

Algeria today remains a country of great cultural diversity and historical depth, facing both the challenges and opportunities of its complex legacy.

Geography

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Algeria is the largest country in Africa and the tenth largest in the world, with a diverse geography that includes coastal areas, mountains, and vast desert regions. Here’s an overview of the key geographical features of Algeria:

Location and Borders

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  • Coordinates: Algeria is situated in North Africa, between latitudes 19° and 37°N, and longitudes 9°W and 12°E.
  • Borders: It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Tunisia to the northeast, Libya to the east, Niger to the southeast, Mali and Mauritania to the southwest, Western Sahara to the west, and Morocco to the northwest.

Major Geographic Regions

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  1. Coastal Plain:
    • The narrow coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea is home to the majority of Algeria's population and major cities, including the capital, Algiers.
    • The climate in this region is Mediterranean, characterized by mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
  2. Tell Atlas:
    • Just inland from the coast is the Tell Atlas Mountain range, which runs parallel to the coast and includes some of the most fertile lands in Algeria.
    • The Tell Atlas includes important cities like Oran, Constantine, and Tlemcen.
  3. High Plateaus:
    • South of the Tell Atlas is a series of high plateaus and steppes, featuring rolling plains and intermittent mountain ranges.
    • This region has a semi-arid climate and supports agriculture through irrigation.
  4. Saharan Atlas:
    • Further south, the Saharan Atlas forms the northern boundary of the Sahara Desert. These mountains are lower than the Tell Atlas and include some of the largest cities in the interior, such as Biskra and Ghardaia.
    • The climate becomes increasingly arid as one moves southward.
  5. Sahara Desert:
    • The southern part of Algeria is dominated by the Sahara Desert, which covers more than 80% of the country’s land area.
    • This vast desert region includes sand dunes (ergs), rocky plateaus (hamadas), and dry valleys (wadis).
    • The climate is extremely arid, with very high temperatures during the day and much cooler temperatures at night. Precipitation is scarce and sporadic.

Major Landforms

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  • Ahaggar Mountains (Hoggar):
    • Located in the central Sahara, the Ahaggar Mountains are a highland region known for their rugged terrain and volcanic peaks, including Mount Tahat, the highest peak in Algeria at 3,003 meters (9,852 feet).
    • The region is inhabited by the Tuareg people and is noted for its unique landscapes and ancient rock art.
  • Tassili n'Ajjer:
    • This is a vast plateau in the southeast of the country, renowned for its prehistoric rock art and unique sandstone formations.
    • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a significant archaeological and cultural area.

Water Bodies

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  • Mediterranean Sea: Algeria has a coastline of about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) along the Mediterranean Sea, featuring important ports and fishing areas.
  • Inland Waterways: There are no significant rivers in Algeria, but the Chelif River is the longest, running for about 700 kilometers (435 miles) from the Tell Atlas to the Mediterranean.
  • Oases: In the Sahara, oases like those in the M'zab Valley provide vital water sources and support date palm cultivation and other agriculture.

Climate

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  • Mediterranean Climate: Found along the coastal regions, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters.
  • Semi-Arid Climate: In the High Plateaus and parts of the Tell Atlas, with hot summers and cooler winters, along with irregular rainfall.
  • Desert Climate: Dominates the Sahara Desert region, with extreme temperatures, very low precipitation, and significant diurnal temperature variations.

Natural Resources

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  • Algeria is rich in natural resources, particularly hydrocarbons. It has significant reserves of oil and natural gas, which are central to its economy. Other mineral resources include iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, and zinc.

Algeria’s varied geography, from fertile coastal plains and mountainous regions to the vast Sahara Desert, shapes its climate, natural resources, and human settlement patterns, making it a country of remarkable geographical diversity.

Languages

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Algeria is a linguistically diverse country with several languages spoken across its regions. The main languages are:

Arabic

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  1. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA):
    • Official Language: MSA, known locally as "al-fus'ha," is the official language of Algeria. It is used in formal settings, such as government, education, and media.
    • Education and Media: It is taught in schools and used in official documents, newspapers, television, and radio broadcasts.
  2. Algerian Arabic (Darija):
    • Spoken Language: Algerian Arabic, or Darija, is the colloquial form of Arabic spoken by the majority of the population in daily life.
    • Regional Variations: There are regional dialects of Darija that can vary significantly from one area to another, but they are generally mutually intelligible.

Berber (Tamazight)

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  1. Tamazight:
    • National Language: Berber, also known as Tamazight, is recognized as a national language alongside Arabic. In 2016, Tamazight was constitutionally recognized as an official language.
    • Varieties: There are several Berber languages and dialects spoken across different regions, including Kabyle (spoken in the Kabylie region), Chaoui (spoken in the Aurès region), and Tuareg (spoken in the southern Sahara).
    • Cultural Significance: Berber languages are an integral part of Algeria's cultural heritage, with a strong oral tradition and increasing efforts to promote and preserve them through education and media.

French

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  • Colonial Legacy: French is widely used due to Algeria's history as a French colony from 1830 to 1962.
  • Education and Administration: It is extensively used in higher education, business, science, technology, and government administration.
  • Media and Daily Use: Many newspapers, television channels, and publications are in French. It is also commonly spoken and understood, especially in urban areas.

Other Languages

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  • English: While not widely spoken, English is gaining popularity, particularly among younger generations and in academic and professional settings.
  • Immigrant Languages: Due to migration, there are small communities speaking other languages such as Spanish, Italian, and various sub-Saharan African languages.

Language Use in Context

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  • Multilingualism: Many Algerians are multilingual, often fluent in a combination of Darija, Tamazight, French, and increasingly, English.
  • Education: Primary education emphasizes Arabic, but French is introduced early and becomes more prominent in secondary and higher education.
  • Media: Television and radio broadcasts are available in Arabic, French, and Berber, reflecting the country's linguistic diversity.

Algeria's linguistic landscape is a reflection of its rich history and cultural diversity, with Arabic, Berber, and French playing significant roles in various aspects of daily life and official functions.

Economy

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Algeria's economy is characterized by its significant reliance on hydrocarbons, particularly oil and natural gas, which play a central role in the country's revenue and export earnings. Here’s an overview of the key aspects of Algeria’s economy:

Key Economic Sectors

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  1. Hydrocarbons
    • Oil and Natural Gas: Algeria has substantial reserves of oil and natural gas, making it one of the leading energy exporters globally. The hydrocarbons sector accounts for approximately 20-30% of GDP, over 90% of export earnings, and around 60% of budget revenues.
    • State-Owned Enterprises: The state-owned company Sonatrach is the largest company in Africa and dominates the oil and gas industry, overseeing exploration, production, and distribution.
  2. Agriculture
    • Crops and Livestock: Agriculture contributes about 12% to GDP and employs around 10-14% of the workforce. Key crops include wheat, barley, citrus fruits, olives, dates, and vegetables. Livestock farming is also significant, with sheep, cattle, and goats being common.
    • Challenges: The sector faces challenges such as limited arable land, water scarcity, and outdated farming techniques, which impact productivity.
  3. Manufacturing and Industry
    • Diversification Efforts: The manufacturing sector is relatively small but the government is making efforts to diversify the economy by promoting industries such as petrochemicals, steel, cement, and electronics.
    • Challenges: Industrial growth is hindered by factors like bureaucratic inefficiency, lack of infrastructure, and dependence on imports for machinery and raw materials.
  4. Services
    • Banking and Finance: The services sector, including banking, finance, and telecommunications, is gradually expanding. Financial reforms aim to modernize the banking system and attract foreign investment.
    • Tourism: Despite its potential, tourism remains underdeveloped due to security concerns, inadequate infrastructure, and limited marketing. The government is working to promote cultural and desert tourism.

Economic Policies and Reforms

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  • Government Initiatives: The Algerian government has implemented various economic reform programs to reduce dependency on hydrocarbons, encourage private sector growth, and improve the business environment. These include investment in infrastructure, renewable energy projects, and incentives for foreign investment.
  • Privatization: Efforts to privatize state-owned enterprises and improve the efficiency of public companies are ongoing, although progress has been slow due to political resistance and economic challenges.

Trade and Investment

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  • Exports: Algeria's primary exports are hydrocarbons, particularly crude oil and natural gas. Key export partners include Italy, Spain, France, and the United States.
  • Imports: Major imports include machinery, foodstuffs, consumer goods, and chemicals. The European Union is the largest trading partner, followed by China and the United States.
  • Foreign Investment: Algeria has been working to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) by improving the regulatory framework, although bureaucratic hurdles and a complex business environment remain obstacles.

Challenges and Opportunities

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  • Economic Challenges: Algeria faces several economic challenges, including high unemployment rates, particularly among the youth, reliance on hydrocarbon revenues, budget deficits, and a need for economic diversification.
  • Opportunities: The country has significant potential in renewable energy, particularly solar power, due to its vast desert areas. Additionally, investment in sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism could drive future economic growth.

Recent Developments

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  • COVID-19 Impact: The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Algeria’s economy, reducing global oil demand and prices, which affected revenue. The government has implemented measures to mitigate these effects and support economic recovery.
  • Ongoing Reforms: Recent government efforts focus on enhancing the business climate, promoting digital transformation, and encouraging entrepreneurship to create jobs and drive economic diversification.

Conclusion

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Algeria's economy is heavily influenced by its hydrocarbon wealth, but the government is actively pursuing diversification and modernization efforts to reduce dependency on this sector. Challenges such as unemployment, bureaucratic inefficiencies, and the need for economic reforms remain, but there are also significant opportunities for growth and development in various sectors.

Population

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Algeria, with a population of over 44 million people, is the largest country in Africa by land area and has a diverse demographic profile. Here is an overview of the key aspects of Algeria's population:

Population Size and Growth

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  • Total Population: As of 2023, Algeria's population is estimated to be around 44 million people.
  • Growth Rate: The population growth rate is relatively moderate, at around 1.5% per year. This rate has slowed down compared to past decades due to declining birth rates.

Age Structure

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  • Youthful Population: Algeria has a relatively young population, with a significant proportion under the age of 30. About 44% of the population is under 25 years old.
  • Median Age: The median age in Algeria is approximately 28 years, reflecting its youthful demographic.

Urban vs. Rural Population

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  • Urbanization: A significant majority of Algerians live in urban areas, with about 73% of the population residing in cities and towns. Major urban centers include Algiers, Oran, Constantine, and Annaba.
  • Rural Population: The remaining population lives in rural areas, often engaged in agriculture and traditional lifestyles.

Ethnic Groups

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  • Arab-Berber Majority: The majority of Algerians identify as Arab-Berber, reflecting the country's mixed heritage of Arab and indigenous Berber populations.
  • Berber Population: Berbers, or Amazigh, are a significant ethnic group, particularly in regions like Kabylie, the Aurès Mountains, and the Sahara. They maintain distinct languages and cultural practices.

Religion

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  • Islam: The vast majority of Algerians (over 99%) are Sunni Muslims, with Islam being the state religion and an integral part of daily life and culture.
  • Religious Minorities: There are small communities of Christians and Jews, though they are very few in number.

Education and Literacy

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  • Literacy Rate: The literacy rate in Algeria is relatively high, around 80% overall, with higher rates among younger generations. There is a notable gender gap, with male literacy rates higher than female.
  • Education System: Algeria has made significant investments in education, providing free education at all levels. Primary and secondary education is compulsory, and there is a network of universities and higher education institutions.

Health

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  • Life Expectancy: Life expectancy in Algeria is about 77 years, with women generally living longer than men.
  • Healthcare System: The government provides free healthcare services, and there has been progress in improving health infrastructure and outcomes, though challenges remain in rural and remote areas.

Socioeconomic Indicators

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  • Unemployment: Unemployment is a significant issue, particularly among the youth, with rates often exceeding 20% for those aged 15-24.
  • Poverty: While Algeria has made strides in reducing poverty, economic disparities exist, and there are ongoing efforts to improve living standards and economic opportunities.

Migration

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  • Internal Migration: There is substantial internal migration from rural to urban areas driven by the search for better employment and living conditions.
  • Emigration: Many Algerians have emigrated to Europe, particularly France, seeking better economic opportunities. Remittances from the Algerian diaspora play a role in the national economy.

Cultural Diversity

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  • Cultural Heritage: Algeria's population is culturally diverse, with rich traditions in music, dance, cuisine, and crafts. The country celebrates various cultural festivals and has a strong oral tradition.
  • Modern Influences: While traditional practices remain strong, Algerian society is also influenced by global trends and modern lifestyles, particularly in urban areas.

In summary, Algeria's population is characterized by its youthful demographic, significant urbanization, and cultural diversity. While the country faces challenges such as unemployment and economic disparities, it also boasts a rich cultural heritage and a commitment to improving education and healthcare for its citizens.

Politics

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Algeria's political landscape is shaped by its historical struggle for independence, a dominant single-party system for much of its post-independence history, and recent movements toward political reform. Here’s an overview of the key aspects of politics in Algeria:

Political System

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  • Republic: Algeria is a republic with a semi-presidential system. The President of Algeria is the head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government.
  • Constitution: The country operates under a constitution that has been amended several times, most recently in 2020, to address political reforms and balance power between different branches of government.

Executive Branch

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  • President: The President is elected for a five-year term and can serve a maximum of two terms. The President has significant powers, including appointing the Prime Minister and cabinet members, issuing decrees, and serving as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
    • Current President: Abdelmadjid Tebboune, elected in December 2019, amid widespread protests and demands for political change.
  • Prime Minister: Appointed by the President, the Prime Minister is responsible for implementing government policy and managing the day-to-day affairs of the government.
    • Current Prime Minister: Aymen Benabderrahmane, appointed in 2021.

Legislative Branch

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  • Bicameral Parliament: The Algerian Parliament consists of two chambers:
    • People’s National Assembly (APN): The lower house, with 407 members elected for five-year terms.
    • Council of the Nation: The upper house, with 144 members. One-third of the members are appointed by the President, and the remaining two-thirds are indirectly elected by local and regional assemblies.
  • Legislative Power: The Parliament is responsible for passing laws, approving the budget, and overseeing the executive branch.

Judicial Branch

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  • Independent Judiciary: The judiciary is supposed to be independent, though in practice, it is often influenced by the executive branch. The highest court is the Supreme Court, and there is also a Constitutional Council that oversees the constitutionality of laws and elections.

Political Parties and Elections

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  • Dominant Party: The National Liberation Front (FLN) has been the dominant political party since independence in 1962. It played a crucial role in the liberation struggle against French colonial rule.
  • Other Parties: Other significant parties include the National Rally for Democracy (RND), the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP), and various smaller parties representing different political and regional interests.
  • Elections: Algeria holds regular elections for the presidency, parliament, and local government. However, allegations of fraud and irregularities have often marred elections, leading to questions about their fairness and transparency.

Political History and Recent Developments

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  • War of Independence: Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 after a brutal eight-year war led by the FLN.
  • Single-Party Rule: For much of its post-independence history, Algeria was a single-party state under the FLN, with limited political freedoms.
  • Civil War: The country experienced a bloody civil war in the 1990s, known as the "Black Decade," following the annulment of elections that the Islamist party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), was poised to win. The conflict resulted in significant loss of life and human rights abuses.
  • Bouteflika Era: Abdelaziz Bouteflika served as President from 1999 to 2019. His tenure saw relative stability and economic growth but was also marked by allegations of corruption and authoritarianism.
  • Hirak Movement: In 2019, mass protests known as the Hirak Movement erupted, demanding political reforms, greater transparency, and an end to corruption. These protests led to Bouteflika's resignation.
  • Current Reforms: President Tebboune has promised political reforms and initiated a constitutional amendment in 2020, which aimed to increase civil liberties, reduce presidential powers, and enhance the role of the judiciary and parliament. However, many protesters and opposition groups remain skeptical about the depth and sincerity of these reforms.

Challenges and Prospects

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  • Political Stability: Algeria faces challenges in achieving political stability and addressing public demands for genuine democratic reforms and transparency.
  • Economic Diversification: Reducing reliance on hydrocarbons and addressing economic issues such as unemployment and corruption are critical for political stability.
  • Human Rights: Ensuring human rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, assembly, and the press, remains a significant challenge.

In summary, Algeria's political landscape is characterized by efforts to transition from a historically dominant single-party system to a more pluralistic and democratic governance structure. While recent reforms and movements have aimed at addressing longstanding issues, achieving lasting political stability and genuine democracy remains an ongoing challenge.

Provinces

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Algeria is divided into 58 provinces, known as "wilayas" in Arabic. Each province is further divided into districts ("dairas") and municipalities ("communes"). Here is a list of the 58 provinces:

  1. Adrar
  2. Chlef
  3. Laghouat
  4. Oum El Bouaghi
  5. Batna
  6. Béjaïa
  7. Biskra
  8. Béchar
  9. Blida
  10. Bouira
  11. Tamanrasset
  12. Tébessa
  13. Tlemcen
  14. Tiaret
  15. Tizi Ouzou
  16. Algiers (Alger)
  17. Djelfa
  18. Jijel
  19. Sétif
  20. Saïda
  21. Skikda
  22. Sidi Bel Abbès
  23. Annaba
  24. Guelma
  25. Constantine
  26. Médéa
  27. Mostaganem
  28. M'Sila
  29. Mascara
  30. Ouargla
  31. Oran
  32. El Bayadh
  33. Illizi
  34. Bordj Bou Arréridj
  35. Boumerdès
  36. El Tarf
  37. Tindouf
  38. Tissemsilt
  39. El Oued
  40. Khenchela
  41. Souk Ahras
  42. Tipaza
  43. Mila
  44. Aïn Defla
  45. Naâma
  46. Aïn Témouchent
  47. Ghardaïa
  48. Relizane
  49. Timimoun (created in 2019)
  50. Bordj Badji Mokhtar (created in 2019)
  51. Ouled Djellal (created in 2019)
  52. Béni Abbès (created in 2019)
  53. In Salah (created in 2019)
  54. In Guezzam (created in 2019)
  55. Touggourt (created in 2019)
  56. Djanet (created in 2019)
  57. El M'Ghair (created in 2019)
  58. El Meniaa (created in 2019)

These provinces vary greatly in terms of population density, economic activities, and geographic features, reflecting the diverse nature of Algeria's landscape and culture.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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Algeria is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, reflecting its rich cultural history and diverse landscapes. Here is an overview of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Algeria:

1. Al Qal'a of Beni Hammad

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  • Date of Inscription: 1980
  • Location: M'Sila Province
  • Description: This site contains the ruins of a fortified Muslim city, founded in the 11th century. It includes the remains of the Great Mosque, which was once one of the largest in Algeria, as well as various palaces, and is a significant example of early Islamic architecture and urban planning in North Africa.

2. Djémila

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  • Date of Inscription: 1982
  • Location: Sétif Province
  • Description: Djémila, known in antiquity as Cuicul, is a well-preserved Roman city. The site includes impressive ruins such as the Arch of Caracalla, temples, basilicas, and houses, showcasing the adaptation of Roman town planning to a mountainous site.

3. M'Zab Valley

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  • Date of Inscription: 1982
  • Location: Ghardaïa Province
  • Description: The M'Zab Valley is an exceptional example of a traditional human habitat. The site includes five fortified cities (ksour), founded in the 11th century by the Ibadites. The unique architecture and urban planning of the M'Zab cities have influenced later developments in the region.

4. Tassili n'Ajjer

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  • Date of Inscription: 1982
  • Location: Djanet Province
  • Description: This vast plateau in the Sahara Desert is renowned for its prehistoric rock art, which dates back to the Neolithic period. The site includes more than 15,000 petroglyphs and paintings, depicting scenes of daily life, animals, and symbolic imagery. The area is also noted for its unique geological formations.

5. Timgad

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  • Date of Inscription: 1982
  • Location: Batna Province
  • Description: Timgad, or Thamugadi, is an ancient Roman city founded by Emperor Trajan around 100 AD. It is known for its grid layout and well-preserved ruins, including the Trajan Arch, the Capitol, and the theater. The site exemplifies Roman urban planning and architecture.

6. Tipasa

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  • Date of Inscription: 1982
  • Location: Tipaza Province
  • Description: Tipasa was an ancient Punic trading post that later became a Roman military colony. The site includes a mix of Phoenician, Roman, early Christian, and Byzantine ruins, such as the Great Basilica, the theater, and the Nymphaeum, reflecting the diverse cultural influences on the region.

7. Kasbah of Algiers

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  • Date of Inscription: 1992
  • Location: Algiers Province
  • Description: The Kasbah is a historic quarter in the capital city of Algiers. It is a unique example of a traditional Islamic city with a labyrinthine layout, including narrow streets, mosques, palaces, and traditional houses. The Kasbah has a rich history, dating back to the Ottoman period and earlier.

8. Vallée du M'zab

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  • Date of Inscription: 1982
  • Location: Ghardaïa Province
  • Description: Also known as the M'zab Valley, this site features five fortified cities built by the Ibadites in the 11th century. The unique architecture and community organization of the M'zab settlements have made a significant impact on regional development.

These sites are not only significant for their historical and cultural value but also for their architectural and artistic achievements. They provide insights into the diverse civilizations that have influenced Algeria throughout history, from ancient Roman and Islamic to Berber and Ottoman periods. Preservation efforts are ongoing to protect and maintain these invaluable cultural heritages.

Culture

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Algeria’s culture is a rich tapestry woven from its diverse historical influences, ethnic diversity, and geographic variety. Here’s an overview of the key elements of Algerian culture:

Language and Literature

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  • Languages: Algeria is a multilingual country. Modern Standard Arabic and Tamazight (Berber) are official languages. Algerian Arabic (Darija) is widely spoken, and French is commonly used in education, media, and business.
  • Literature: Algerian literature includes works in Arabic, Tamazight, and French. Prominent authors include Kateb Yacine, known for his novel Nedjma, and Assia Djebar, who wrote extensively about women's issues and history. Traditional oral literature, including folktales and poetry, is also an important part of Algerian culture.

Music and Dance

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  • Raï Music: Originating from Oran, Raï is a popular music genre that combines traditional Algerian music with modern influences. Notable artists include Cheb Khaled and Cheb Mami.
  • Chaabi: This traditional music style is popular in Algiers and reflects the city's cultural heritage.
  • Kabyle Music: Berber (Kabyle) music is known for its rich vocal traditions and use of traditional instruments like the mandole. Notable artists include Idir and Lounis Aït Menguellet.
  • Traditional Dances: Dance forms vary by region and ethnic group, with each celebrating different aspects of social and cultural life.

Art and Architecture

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  • Traditional Art: Algeria has a vibrant tradition of decorative arts, including pottery, jewelry, carpets, and leatherwork. Berber art is particularly renowned for its intricate designs and symbolic meanings.
  • Architecture: Algerian architecture reflects its diverse history. The Kasbah of Algiers is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its labyrinthine streets and Ottoman-era buildings. Other notable architectural styles include Roman ruins in Timgad and Djémila, and the M'Zab Valley’s unique desert architecture.

Festivals and Traditions

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  • Religious Festivals: Islamic festivals such as Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and Mawlid (the Prophet Muhammad's birthday) are widely celebrated.
  • Yennayer: The Berber New Year, celebrated on January 12th, is marked with traditional food, music, and dance.
  • Independence Day: Celebrated on July 5th, marking Algeria's independence from France in 1962.

Cuisine

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  • Staple Foods: Algerian cuisine features staples such as couscous, often served with meat and vegetables, and tajine, a slow-cooked stew.
  • Popular Dishes: Other popular dishes include harira (a hearty soup), merguez (spicy sausages), and mechoui (roast lamb).
  • Pastries and Sweets: Traditional sweets include makroud (semolina cookies filled with dates) and baklava. Mint tea and strong coffee are also popular.

Clothing

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  • Traditional Dress: Traditional clothing varies by region but often includes garments like the djellaba (a long, loose robe) and the burnous (a woolen cloak). Berber women are known for their colorful dresses and ornate jewelry.
  • Modern Attire: In urban areas, Western-style clothing is common, although traditional attire is often worn for special occasions and festivals.

Religion

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  • Islam: The majority of Algerians are Sunni Muslims. Islam plays a significant role in daily life, influencing customs, law, and moral codes.
  • Religious Practices: Daily prayers, fasting during Ramadan, and other religious practices are widely observed.

Social Structure

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  • Family: Family is a central aspect of Algerian society, with strong emphasis on extended family networks and respect for elders.
  • Community Life: Social life often revolves around communal activities and gatherings, whether in rural villages or urban neighborhoods.

Cinema and Media

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  • Film Industry: Algerian cinema has produced influential films, especially during the post-independence period. Notable films include The Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo.
  • Television and Radio: Both state-run and private media provide a mix of news, entertainment, and cultural programming in Arabic, French, and Berber.

Sports

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  • Football: The most popular sport in Algeria, with the national team enjoying widespread support. Algeria won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1990 and 2019.
  • Other Sports: Athletics, handball, and martial arts are also popular.

Algerian culture is a dynamic blend of ancient traditions and modern influences, reflecting its complex history and diverse population. This cultural richness is evident in the country’s languages, arts, cuisine, and social customs, making Algeria a unique and vibrant nation.

References

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  1. "Constitution of Algeria, Art. 11". El-mouradia.dz. language: France and Arabic (government language); people of Algeria speak Arabic and Berber. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  2. "Constitution of Algeria; Art. 11". Apn-dz.org. 28 November 1996. Archived from the original on 25 July 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "The World Factbook – Algeria". Central Intelligence Agency. 4 December 2013. Archived from the original on 12 June 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  4. "Central Intelligence Agency". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 8 February 2020. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  5. "Démographie" [Demography] (PDF). Office National des Statistiques (in French). 18 May 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 July 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "World Economic Outlook Database". IMF.org. International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  7. "Distribution of Family Income – Gini Index". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  8. "GINI index (World Bank estimate)". data.worldbank.org. World Bank. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  9. Human Development Report 2020 The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. pp. 343–346. ISBN 978-92-1-126442-5. Retrieved 16 December 2020.

Notes

  1. The CIA World Factbook states that about 15% of Algerians, a minority, identify as Berber even though many Algerians have Berber origins. The Factbook explains that of the approximately 15% who identify as Berber, most live in the Kabylia region, more closely identify with Berber heritage instead of Arab heritage, and are Muslim.

Other websites

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