Algerian president overthrown in '92 coup dies

AOMAR OUALI Associated Press Published:

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- Former Algerian President Chadli Bendjedid, who gave the country a multiparty political system before he was overthrown in a 1992 military coup, died Saturday at a military hospital, the state news agency said. He was 83.

Bendjedid, who became president in 1979, presided over a series of political reforms that allowed for competitive legislative and municipal elections.

But 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, which tore the country apart and claimed at least 200,000 lives.

Bendjedid was kept under house arrest hundreds of miles from the capital until 1999, when he was freed.

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