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Chadli Bendjedid, ex-Algerian president, dies

Algeria's state news agency says former President Chadli Bendjedid, who was overthrown in a 1992 military coup, died Saturday at a military hospital. He was 83.

Bendjedid, who became president in 1979, presided over a series of political reforms that gave Algeria a multiparty political system with competitive legislative and municipal elections.

When an Islamist party swept the first round of parliamentary elections, Algeria's powerful generals stepped in, ousted Benjedid and canceled the elections in 1992.

The coup prompted an armed resistance that turned into a decade-long civil war that tore the country apart and claimed at least 200,000 lives.

Bendjedid was admitted to the Mohamed Seghir Nekkache military hospital last week for kidney-related problems, the state news agency reported Saturday, citing family members.

After the outbreak of civil war, he was placed under house arrest in Oran in January 1992 and not released until after Abdelaziz Bouteflika rose to the presidency in 1999.

His memoirs are due to be published on Nov. 1, the anniversary of the outbreak in 1954 of Algeria's war of independence.

-- AP

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