The Tripoli Program, which served as Algeria's constitution when it won its war for independence from France in 1962, established the President as the head of state with a Prime Minister assisting in the operation of government. Internal political maneuvering resulted in a new constitution in 1963 that abolished the Prime Minister position and devolved all executive power upon the office of the President. For the first four decades of independence government was controlled as a one-party state by the National Liberation Front or FLN. The presidency was held by a succession of FLN members; Ahmed Ben Bella, Houari Boumédienne and Chadli Bendjedid. The constitution written in 1976 maintained the executive power of the Presidency, but the modifications of 1979 stripped the head of government status from the office.
Towards the end of the 1980s there was a liberalization of the FLN regime. However, when the Islamic Salvation Front won parliamentary elections in 1991, the military forced Chadli Bendjedid to dissolve the parliament and resign on 11 January 1992. The military declared a state of emergency and took over government of the country, establishing a five-member High Council of State. The council appointed a President, Muhammad Boudiaf, to take office for a three-year term to facilitate a transfer back to normal elections for the office. However Boudiaf was assassinated, and succeeded by Ali Kafi. Meanwhile the country descended into a period of civil war, between the military government and Islamic guerrillas. Kafi was replaced in 1994 by Liamine Zéroual, who called the first of these elections in 1995, winning the full five-year term easily in disputed in election as the civil war was continuing. He called another early election in 1999, with the Islamic insurgency mostly suppressed. Abdelaziz Bouteflika won this election after all other candidates dropped out. He won re-election on 8 April 2004, in elections that were also disputed, and won again in 2009, relatively unchallenged; his term ends in 2014.