In Algeria, the first Congress of the country's only political party, the National Liberation Front (N.
In Algeria, the first Congress of the country's only political party, the National Liberation Front (N.F.L.) has ended. Delegates were meeting to choose their candidate to succeed the dead President Houari Boumedienne. On Wednesday (31 January) the Congress announced that it had chosen Colonel Benjedid Chadli as the party's candidate in uncontested elections to be held on February 7.
SYNOPSIS: Wreaths were laid on the tomb of President Boumedienne during a ceremony to mark the end of the Congress on Thursday. Boumedienne died on December 27. He had ruled Algeria for 13 years since seizing power in a military coup. Colonel Chadli also took part in that coup, and later became a member of the ruling Council of the Revolution.
President Boumedienne had a large popular following. In choosing his successor, many observers say the Congress was faced with the problems of choosing a leader who could steer the country through the first years of the post-Boumedienne era. Colonel Chadli had been regarded as a strong candidate although he was not well known to ordinary Algerians. As Defence Minister he was a key link between the N.L.F. and the army after the President's death. His choice now is likely to satisfy the army, which considers itself defender of Algeria's socialist revolution.
The ceremony at the former President's tomb underlines another of the major decisions taken at the Congress; that there is to be no marked change in Algeria's policies. Its support for the hard line Arab resistance, and its condemnation of the Camp David agreements between Egypt and Israel will continue.