Ferhat Abbas; First Head of Independent Algeria

Associated Press

Ferhat Abbas, the first president of the provisional government of Algeria after it achieved independence from France, has died, the official APS news agency said. He was 86.

The agency announced his death Tuesday but did not say when he died.

Abbas, a pharmacist, was named the first president of the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic in 1958 by the Algerian National Liberation Front.

He held the post through 1961, during some of the bloodiest fighting between the independence forces and French troops.


After Algeria gained independence in 1962, Abbas supported Ahmed Ben Bella as the new state’s first president. Abbas was elected president of the National Assembly.

He resigned in 1963 after breaking with Ben Bella’s moves to develop a socialist state. Abbas was placed under house arrest and remained so under President Houari Boumedienne, who ousted Ben Bella and speeded up the country’s development into an authoritarian Marxist state with a strict, centrally planned economy.

Abbas was released from house arrest after President Chadli Bendjedid succeeded Boumedienne. Bendjedid has tried to slowly dismantle some of Boumedienne’s state apparatus, while opening the country up to Western investment.