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1962: Algeria wins independence from France. National Liberation Front leader Ahmed Ben Bella is first president.

1965: President Houari Boumedienne is inaugurated.

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1978: President Boumedienne dies.

1979: President Chadli Benjedid installed. Promotes private enterprise and better relations with US and the West.

1983: Benjedid visits France, which becomes Algeria's biggest trading partner.

1988: Riots across the country by Islamic militants target socialist policies.

1989: Series of referenda vote for multiparty democracy.

1991: The Islamic Front for the Salvation of Islam (FIS) wins the first round of parliamentary elections.

1992: Military cancels the election when it appears that FIS will win the run-off. Presidential Council created. Benjedid resigns. President Muhammed Boudiaf is assassinated in circumstances that remain unexplained but point to the Algerian military. Islamic-backed insurgency begins. President Ali Kafi takes over and promises a referendum that never takes place.

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February 1994: President Liamine Zeroual takes office.

August 1994: French police detain 36 suspected Islamic militants and ban five Islamic publications.

September 1994: President Zeroual shifts jailed FIS leaders to house arrest to allow a dialogue to begin. Some contacts between FIS leaders, Ali Belhadj, and Abassi Madani take place, but government says it cannot meet demands.

November 1994: Numbers of killings escalate. Zeroual promises presidential election by end of 1995. FIS leaders declare a ``holy war'' against government that refuses to attend meeting of Algerian opposition leaders in Rome.

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