- Published on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 00:00
An Islamist party wins a free and fair democratic election and then is ousted in a military coup, one tacitly encouraged by the country’s liberal and secular opposition, many of whom prefer a military dictatorship to a democracy run by religious conservatives. If this scenario sounds familiar it’s because we’ve seen it before.
In 1991, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), an Islamist political group, won the first round of Algeria’s first multiparty elections since the country gained independence in 1962. When polling predicted that the FIS would win an absolute majority in Algeria’s parliament in the second round of voting, the military suddenly stepped in and annulled the elections. The coup d’état radicalized the country’s Islamists and led to a decade long civil war that resulted in more than 100,000 deaths.
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