The Journal of Modern African Studies

Reforming the Algerian electoral system 1

Youcef Bouandel a1a2
a1 University of Lincoln
a2 School of Political & Social Inquiry, Monash University, Melbourne.

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In October 1988, Algeria began a process of transition from authoritarianism. Political reforms were introduced, on the surface, to facilitate the process of transition, but in reality to ensure the survival of the incumbent regime. The reform of the electoral system played a significant part in this survival strategy. Between 1989 and 1997, Algeria witnessed the adoption of three distinct electoral systems as the authorities sought ways to give a façade of democratisation while manipulating the rules to suit their purposes. This paper looks at the Algerian transition, asks why the Algerian authorities switched from one system to another, and assesses the impact of the three different electoral systems that the country has experienced.


1 The author is grateful to M.R. Bougheira, Robert Mortimer, Peter Lentini and two anonymous readers for their comments on an earlier version of this paper. The usual disclaimers apply.