Algeria / Politics /
Ahmed Ben Bella
muhammad 'ahmad bni balla
(1918-) President of independent Algeria 1963-65, prime minister 1962-1963.
Much of Ben Bella's time as president was devoted to rebuilding Algeria after the ethnic cleansings of Christians and Jews following the Algerian War. With perhaps 1.5 million effectively forced to leave the country, Algeria had lost most of its high skilled labour, factories had been shut down, leaving 70% of the remaining Muslim population unemployed, and the Christian group, the OAS, had in revenge actions destroyed many public buildings.
His politics was one of socialism and nationalism. He called for agrarian reform and nationalized many companies.
With his focus on international influence, he proved unable to concentrate on securing the progress in developing national state stuctures. These were laid to become so strong and influential that the army became worried about losing its own influence over the Algerian society. That was the main reason for the coup in 1965.
1916 December 25: Officially, this is the date of Ben Bella's birth, in Maghnia. His father changed his birth year from the actual 1918, to make him older so he could finish school earlier, and help his father on his farm.
1940: Is active in the French army during World War 2, and was decorated for his bravery.
1946: Joins the Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Liberties (MTDL).
1948: Founds the military group Organisation Speciale, and becomes its leader the following year.
1950: Participates in the robbing of the post office in Oran, to obtain funds for his group. He is arrested.
1952: Escapes from prison, and flees to Cairo, Egypt.
1954: Is one of the co-founders of the FLN.
1956 October 22: Is arrested again for his activities, while on board an airplane from Morocco to Tunisia. He would stay in prison throughout the remainder of the Algerian War, a time he used to studies and reading.
1962 March: With the Evian Accords, Ben Bella is freed from prison.
Becomes one of the leaders of Algeria, in charge of the government.
1963: Becomes president of Algeria, after an election without opposing candidates. He remains head of the government.
1965 June 19: Is removed from office by a coup staged by his old ally, Houari Boumedienne, and placed under house arrest.
1980 October 30: Is released from his house arrest, and leaves Algeria for Europe.
1990 September 27: Is allowed to return to Algeria.
Mid-1990's: Participates in talks between the opponents in the Algerian Civil War.