The new century in Algeria was symbolically inaugurated by the entry into force of the peace plan wanted by President Algeria Būtaflīqua (̔Abd al-̔Azīz Bū Taflīqa): a tangible sign of the policy of national reconciliation, at the end of a terrible decade of massacres and violence under the banner of Islamists’ fanaticism. The provision, known as the Law on civil harmony, provided for a partial or total amnesty for those terrorists who had not committed blood crimes, rape or attacks, and had surrendered to the authorities by 13 January 2000.. It had previously been approved by an overwhelming majority by both chambers and by Algerian voters. Another success of the regime in the fight against terrorism were the peace agreements reached with the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS), the armed arm of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), the main Islamist political movement; AIS disbanded in January 2000, suggesting a division within the Islamist front, given that the FIS had been excluded from the negotiating table. But, despite the decrease in violence, a state of emergency remained in force in the country and severe restrictions on political activity persisted, while still unresolved two basic issues appeared: the discussed methods of the army in the war against terrorists and the real will of democratization of political life by the leaders of the country. At the end of 2000 there was a new escalation of terrorism: in fact, almost three hundred died in the month of Ramad ā n alone (December).
During 2001 Algeria was shaken by a wave of protests from the population, exasperated by the very high unemployment and the lack of socio-economic reforms. In particular, Kabylia, a northern region inhabited mainly by Berbers, was the scene of clashes and protests after the killing of a student by the police (April); in June, after weeks of mobilization and unrest, the population of Kabylia invaded the capital with an impressive demonstration (about one million people) that denounced the repression of the regime and the lack of recognition of the Berber language and culture. Over the course of the summer, while the number of dead and wounded due to street riots increased, the action of the Berber popular movement intensified, Aarouch), who later developed a platform of claims for full citizenship of all Algerians. Among the most important, the recognition of Berber, Tamazight, as the second official language of the country, alongside Arabic. After the opening of a dialogue between the government and the more moderate representatives of the Berber front, in January 2002 Būtaflīqua announced this recognition; the measure was approved by the Algerian Parliament in April.
According to Best-medical-schools, the legislative elections of May 30, 2002 still seemed to be affected by the climate of confrontation that spread in the country during 2001, which had seen large sections of the population gather around slogans of national resonance (absence of democracy, corruption, misery, unemployment). With a very low percentage of voters (46, 2 %, and just 2% in Kabylia) and the boycott of the two main Berber-based parties, the Front of the Socialist Forces (FFS) and the Grouping for Culture and Democracy (RCD), the most secular of the Algerian parties, the elections led to the collapse of the National Democratic Grouping (RDN), the ‘president’s party’, which rose from 155 seats in 1997 to 47, and the resounding success of the National Liberation Front (FLN), the party that led the Algerians’ struggle for independence from France, which won 199 seats (64 in 1997); the latter was headed by Prime Minister Algeria Benflis, who was immediately reconfirmed in his post by Būtaflīqua. Two Islamic-inspired formations, the Society for Peace Movement and the National Reform Movement, won 43 and 38 seats respectively. A sign of the change taking place in the country, despite a thousand contradictions, was the appointment as Minister of Culture of the feminist H. Tūmī Mas̔ūdī, who had fought for years against Islamist terrorism and had been repeatedly threatened with death.
The beginning of 2003 saw a new wave of Islamist violence by the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), a formation that had not joined the peace plan launched at the end of 1999. Substantially, however, the success of the Law on civil harmony was consolidating, which had prompted about three thousand terrorists to renounce clandestinity and the armed struggle, and the centrality of the role of Algerian civil society, secular and religious, was confirmed, which even during the toughest period of the civil war in the nineties of 20Th century, it had been able to keep the demands of democracy high, perhaps representing the form of resistance most disliked by the fanaticism of the Islamists. Apparently without consequences was also the release, after 12 years of detention, of Algeria Madanī and Algeria Belḥaǧǧ, important leaders of the FIS.
In the first months of the year at the top of political power a rift opened in the relations between Būtaflīqua and Benflis, whose power within the FLN was always growing. In May Benflis was replaced by Algeria ūyaḥyā, and at the end of the year the FLN ministers who supported Benflis left the government. In April 2004, Būtaflīqua came out victorious in the presidential elections with 84.99 % of the vote. His rival, Benflis, earned just 6.42% of the votes in a competition which, although contested by the losers, was judged correct by international observers, who also underlined the increasingly marginal role of the army in the political arena. By confirming Būtaflīqua, the electorate seemed to want to reward the achievement of security, an unimaginable goal a few years earlier and considered a high priority.
However, there were still strong uncertainties about the pacification and modernization process of the country. An exemplary case was the long battle waged by Minister Tūmī Mas̔ūdī for the revision of the Family Code, which confined women to a state of minority for life, forced as they were to submit to the will of a guardian, even the arbiter of their marriage choices.. This dispute ultimately saw the fundamentalists’ instances prevail, after a hard confrontation: the definitive text of the Code (March 2005) in fact confirmed the institution of the guardian. In September 2005, the country held a referendum on peace and national reconciliation wanted by Būtaflīqua to definitively close the accounts with the horrors of the civil war.