In April 2004 presidential elections, praised by international monitors for their fairness, incumbent Bouteflika won 85% of the vote. Bouteflika stated that his second term would be devoted to solving the three-year-old crisis in the Berber region of Kabylia, freeing women from restrictive family codes, and bringing about “true national reconciliation” caused by the civil war. The countrys dire economic situation has improved slightly, but Algeria still faces a high unemployment rate.
In Oct. 2005, Algerians approved a controversial referendum sponsored by Bouteflika, the Charter on Peace and National Reconciliation, which grants amnesty to all Islamists and military officials involved in the countrys bloody civil war. There is considerable doubt whether reconciliation is possible without holding anyone accountable, and the presidents plan has been referred to as one of amnesia rather than amnesty.