Algerian Independence Referendum, 1962
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Algerian Independence Referendum, 1962

An independence referendum was held in French Algeria on 1 July 1962. It followed French approval of the Évian Accords in an April referendum. The results were 99.72% in favour and just 0.28% against with a voter turnout of 91.88%.

Following the referendum, France declared Algeria to be independent on 3 July. When Algeria ceased to be part of France it also ceased being part of the European Communities.[1]

Background

The Algerian War was started by members of the National Liberation Front (FLN) with the Toussaint Rouge attacks on 1 November 1954. Conflicts proliferated in France, including the May 1958 Algerian crisis that led to the fall of the Fourth Republic.[2] French forces used brutal means of attempting to suppress Algerian nationalists, alienating support in metropolitan France and discrediting French prestige abroad.[3][4]

In 1960, French President Charles de Gaulle agreed to negotiations with the FLN after major demonstrations in Algiers and other cities. A 1961 referendum on allowing self-determination for Algeria was approved by 75% of voters (including 70% of those voting in Algeria). Negotiations concluded with the signing of the Évian Accords in March 1962, which were approved by 91% of voters in a referendum on 8 April.[5]

Results

The referendum question was phrased:

"Do you want Algeria to become an independent state, co-operating with France under the conditions defined in the declarations of 19 March 1962?"

Choice Votes %
For 5,975,581 99.72
Against 16,534 0.28
Invalid/blank votes 25,565 -
Total 6,017,680 100
Registered voters/turnout 6,549,736 91.9
Source: Direct Democracy

Aftermath

Although the official Algerian declaration of independence was made on 5 July, France was allowed to maintain its Mers El Kébir naval base for fifteen years. However, all forces were withdrawn in 1967.

Canadian historian John C. Cairns stated in 1962 that:[6]

In some ways the last year has been the worse. Tension has never been higher. Disenchantment in France at least has never been greater. The mindless cruelty of it all has never been more absurd and savage. This last year, stretching from the hopeful spring of 1961 to the ceasefire of March 18, 1962 spanned a season of shadow boxing, false threats, capitulation and murderous hysteria. French Algeria died badly. Its agony was marked by panic and brutality as ugly as the record of European imperialism could show. In the spring of 1962 the unhappy corpse of empire still shuddered and lashed out and stained itself in fratricide. The whole episode of its death, measured at least seven and half years, constituted perhaps the most pathetic and sordid event in the entire history of colonialism. It is hard to see how anybody of importance in the tangled web of the conflict came out looking well. Nobody won the conflict, nobody dominated it.

References

  1. ^ Birchall, Ian H. (2012). European revolutionaries and Algerian independence, 1954-1962. Socialist Platform Ltd. ISBN 9780850366655. OCLC 813541956.
  2. ^ Calçada, Miquel (2012-12-13). "Analysis of the Algerian War of Independence or Les Événements: A lost opportunity for peace". Journal of Conflictology. 3 (2). doi:10.7238/joc.v3i2.1552. ISSN 2013-8857.
  3. ^ Towers, John W. (2002-04-09). "The French in Algeria, 1954-1962 Military Success Failure of Grand Strategy". Fort Belvoir, VA. doi:10.21236/ada404412. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Casassus, Barbara (2018-09-13). "France admits role in torture and murder of mathematician during Algerian war". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06690-w. ISSN 0028-0836.
  5. ^ Armstrong, Philip (2014). "In Fraternity's Wake: Nancy, Derrida, and Algerian Independence". Diacritics. 42 (2): 60-81. doi:10.1353/dia.2014.0007. ISSN 1080-6539.
  6. ^ Cairns, J. C. (1962). Algeria: The Last Ordeal. International Journal, 17(2), 87-97. https://doi.org/10.1177/002070206201700201

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