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Nahda, al-

NAHDA, AL-

Algerian political party.



Al-Nahda party was at one time the third most popular Islamic party in Algeria, after the Front Islamique du Salut (Islamic Salvation Front, FIS) and Hamas (Party for a Peaceful Society). It was founded in 1989 by Shaykh Abdallah Jaballah (b. 1956), following constitutional amendments that allowed for pluralism and the formation of political parties. AlNahda's origins go back to the mid-1970s, when Jaballah, then a law student at the university in Constantine, formed a student group, al-Jamaʿa alIslamiyya. Due to the group's secret nature, it had limited influence until the mid-1980s and was concentrated in the eastern region of the country. AlNahda was influenced by the teachings and methods of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and advocated education and gradualism as a means of social change. In 1987, as the political system in Algeria opened up, al-Jamaʿa became public, calling itself the Nahda Association for Social and Cultural Reform. In 1990 it became a political party that drew support from students, teachers, and professionals. Following the cancellation of the 1991 legislative elections, al-Nahda opposed the military takeover, called for the government to respect the people's choice, and boycotted the 1995 presidential elections. During the legislative elections of 1997, it won 34 seats out of 389 but refused to participate in a coalition government. The party experienced a major split in 1999, when its secretary general, Lahbib Admi, supported the presidential candidacy of Abdelaziz Bouteflika instead of Jaballah's. Jaballah formed a new party, the National Reform Movement (MRN), which most of al-Nahda's members joined. In the May 2002 legislative elections, MRN came third, with 43 seats, after the National Liberation Front (FLN) and the Democratic National Rally (RND); al-Nahda lost all but one seat, probably ushering in the demise of that party. Shaykh Jaballah and the MRN have advocated reform, pluralism, national reconciliation, and the preservation of the country's cultural identity.

see also algeria: political parties in; front islamique du salut (fis); hamas (movement for a peaceful society).


Bibliography


Shahin, Emad Eldin. Political Ascent: Contemporary Islamic Movements in North Africa. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997.

emad eldin shahin

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