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Former Algerien President Bendjedid dies

One of Algeria's longest-serving presidents has died at the age of 83. Former President Chadli Bendjedid leaves behind a legacy of military service for his country and democratic reforms.

Algeria's former President Chadli Bendjedid passed away on Saturday at Ain Naadja military hospital in Algiers after being admitted last week for kidney problems, according to the national APS news agency.

Bendjedid served as president from 1979 to 1992, rising to power and eventually losing office at the hands of the Algerian military.

The long-time president was born in the El-Tarf district in northeastern Algeria in 1929. The career soldier fought in the war for independence from France, rising through the ranks of the military in the years that followed.

After army backing brought him to power in 1979, Bendjedid introduced a series of democratic reforms to Algeria, most notably a pluralist constitution in 1989 which allowed opposition parties to gain power in the country's political system.

The country's first multi-party election in 1992 ultimately led to the long-time president's fall from power.

After the Islamic Salvation Front (ISF) won the general election that year, the military staged a coup to hinder the Islamist party from exercising political power. Bendjedid was subsequently ousted during the coup and forced into house arrest. During the decade of violence that ensued, an estimated 200,000 people died.

Bendjedid's death on Saturday comes less than a month before the release of his tell-all memoir.

kms/rc (dpa, AFP, AP, dapd)