12 Pages

Introduction: France and Algeria's Short-lived Democratization Process

ByCamille Bonora-Waisman

Democratization was characterised by the introduction of multi-party politics and, thus, the abolition of the one-party system. The October 1988 revolt and the democratization process allowed the Islamist movement to enter the Algerian political arena. The prospect of a Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)-dominated parliament led the Algerian Army to stage a coup d'etat, thus, abruptly bringing to an end the democratization process. The Algerian conflict has not generated any uproar on the international diplomatic scene but has paradoxically been at the centre of world attention and this for several reasons. Colonization and the War of Liberation have, indeed, marked collective attitudes on both sides so that the context within which the Franco-Algerian relationship has been unfolding is highly emotional. The FIS vote was lived in France as a 'psychological trauma' because it implied that part of the Algerian people did not recognize itself in France and its political paradigms.