Geographic and Governmental Profile of Algeria

Background
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 spurred 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, and fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense violence between 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, ending the state's monopoly on broadcast media, increasing women's quotas for elected assemblies, and expanding the role of judges in administering elections. Political protest activity in the country remained low in 2011, but small, sometimes violent socioeconomic demonstrations by disparate groups continued to be a common occurrence. Parliamentary elections held in May 2012 resulted in an increase of seats for presidentially-aligned parties. Parliament in 2013 is expected to revise the constitution.
Location
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia
Geographic coordinates
28 00 N, 3 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
2,381,741 sq km
rank:
10
land:
2,381,741 sq km
water:
0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas
Land boundaries
total:
6,343 km
border countries:
Libya 982 km, Mali 1,376 km, Mauritania 463 km, Morocco 1,559 km, Niger 956 km, Tunisia 965 km, Western Sahara 42 km
Coastline
998 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive fishing zone:
32-52 nm
Climate
arid to semiarid; mild, wet winters with hot, dry summers along coast; drier with cold winters and hot summers on high plateau; sirocco is a hot, dust/sand-laden wind especially common in summer
Terrain
mostly high plateau and desert; some mountains; narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Chott Melrhir -40 m
highest point:
Tahat 3,003 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc
Land use
arable land:
3.17%
permanent crops:
0.28%
other:
96.55% (2005)
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Irrigated land
5,700 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
14.3 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
6.07 cu km/yr (22%/13%/65%)
per capita:
185 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mudslides and floods in rainy season
Environment - current issues
soil erosion from overgrazing and other poor farming practices; desertification; dumping of raw sewage, petroleum refining wastes, and other industrial effluents is leading to the pollution of rivers and coastal waters; Mediterranean Sea, in particular, becoming polluted from oil wastes, soil erosion, and fertilizer runoff; inadequate supplies of potable water
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
largest country in Africa
Country name
conventional long form:
People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
conventional short form:
Algeria
local long form:
Al Jumhuriyah al Jaza'iriyah ad Dimuqratiyah ash Sha'biyah
local short form:
Al Jaza'ir
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Algiers
geographic coordinates:
36 45 N, 3 03 E
time difference:
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
48 provinces (wilayat, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Ain Defla, Ain Temouchent, Alger, Annaba, Batna, Bechar, Bejaia, Biskra, Blida, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Bouira, Boumerdes, Chlef, Constantine, Djelfa, El Bayadh, El Oued, El Tarf, Ghardaia, Guelma, Illizi, Jijel, Khenchela, Laghouat, Mascara, Medea, Mila, Mostaganem, M'Sila, Naama, Oran, Ouargla, Oum el Bouaghi, Relizane, Saida, Setif, Sidi Bel Abbes, Skikda, Souk Ahras, Tamanghasset, Tebessa, Tiaret, Tindouf, Tipaza, Tissemsilt, Tizi Ouzou, Tlemcen
Independence
5 July 1962 (from France)
Constitution
8 September 1963; revised 19 November 1976; effective 22 November 1976; revised several times
Legal system
mixed legal system of French civil law and Islamic law; judicial review of legislative acts in ad hoc Constitutional Council composed of various public officials including several Supreme Court justices
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; a November 2008 constitutional amendment separated the position of head of government from that of the prime minister
head of government:
President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999)
cabinet:
Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 9 April 2009 (next to be held in April 2014)
election results:
Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA reelected president for a third term; percent of vote - Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA 90.2%, Louisa HANOUNE 4.2%, Moussa TOUATI 2.3%, Djahid YOUNSI 1.4%, Ali Fawzi REBIANE less than 1%, Mohamed SAID less than 1%
Legislative branch
bicameral Parliament consists of the Council of the Nation (upper house; 144 seats; one-third of the members appointed by the president, two-thirds elected by indirect vote to serve six-year terms; the constitution requires half the Council to be renewed every three years) and the National People's Assembly (lower house; 462 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections:
Council of the Nation - last held on 29 December 2009 (next to be held in December 2012); National People's Assembly - last held on 10 May 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
election results:
Council of the Nation election of 29 December 2009 - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; National People's Assembly election of 10 May 2012 - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FLN 221, RND 70, AAV 47, FFS 21, PT 17, FNA 9, ADDALA 7, MPA 6, PFJ 5, FC 4, PNSD 4, other 32, independents 19
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (or High Court) regulates activities of courts and tribunals; Council of State regulates body of activities of the administrative jurisdictions; Tribunal of Conflicts settles conflicts between the Supreme Court and the Tribunal of Conflicts
Political parties and leaders
Algerian Popular Movement or MPA; Change Front or FC; Front for Justice and Development or Addala; Green Algeria Alliance or AAV (includes Movement for National Reform, Islamic Renaissance Movement, and Movement for Society and Peace or Hamas); AAV organized for purpose of May 2012 election only; Movement of the Society of Peace or MSP [Boudjerra SOLTANI]; National Democratic Rally (Rassemblement National Democratique) or RND [Ahmed OUYAHIA]; National Liberation Front or FLN [Abdelaziz BELKHADEM, secretary general]; National Party for Solidarity and Development or PNSD; National Reform Movement or Islah [Ahmed ABDESLAM] (formerly MRN); New Dawn Party or PFJ; Oath of 54 or Ahd 54 [Ali Fauzi REBAINE]; Rally for Culture and Democracy or RCD [Said SADI]; Renaissance Movement or EnNahda Movement [Fatah RABEI]; Socialist Forces Front or FFS [Hocine AIT AHMED]; Workers Party or PT [Louisa HANOUNE]
a law banning political parties based on religion was enacted in March 1997
Political pressure groups and leaders
The Algerian Human Rights League or LADDH [Mostefa BOUCHACHI]; SOS Disparus [Nacera DUTOUR]
International organization participation
ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, BIS, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Abdallah BAALI
chancery:
2118 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 265-2800
FAX:
[1] (202) 667-2174
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Henry S. ENSHER
embassy:
05 Chemin Cheikh Bachir, El-Ibrahimi, El-Biar 16000 Algiers
mailing address:
B. P. 408, Alger-Gare, 16030 Algiers
telephone:
[213] 770-08-2000
FAX:
[213] 21-60-7355
Flag description
two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and white; a red, five-pointed star within a red crescent centered over the two-color boundary; the colors represent Islam (green), purity and peace (white), and liberty (red); the crescent and star are also Islamic symbols, but the crescent is more closed than those of other Muslim countries because the Algerians believe the long crescent horns bring happiness
National symbol(s)
star and crescent; fennec fox
National anthem
name:
"Kassaman" (We Pledge)
lyrics/music:
Mufdi ZAKARIAH/Mohamed FAWZI
adopted 1962; ZAKARIAH wrote "Kassaman" as a poem while imprisoned in Algiers by French colonial forces
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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