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Elite Change in an Authoritarian Regime:
Co-opting an Islamic Movement in Algeria

by Noura Hamladji

English / Arabic
January 2003


By focusing on the emergence of an Islamist elite in Algeria, this paper identifies the conditions under which co-optation processes stabilize authoritarian regimes. It first provides an empirical assessment on the presence of MSP-Hamas elite in state institutions, which reveals that their co-optation is symbolic in terms of power sharing. This in turn brings about the question of what were the expectations of the actors involved in the co-optation process. While MSP-Hamas leaders expected to strengthen their party in order to take over power, it appears that they failed in their attempts to gain more influence in the decision-making process. The analysis presented here shows that it is the very conditions under which this elite was co-opted that precluded it to undermine the authoritarian incumbents' hold on power.




List of Abbreviations 


List of Terms 






Chapter 1: Assessing the Emergence of MSP-Hamas Elite


1.1   Government

1.2   Assemblies


Chapter 2: The Expectations Evolution of Actors Involved in

                    the Co-optation Process


2.1         The Co-opters’ Expectations: the Benefits of

              Co-opting a “Moderate” Islamist Party

2.2         The Co-opteds’ Expectations: Maximizing the Moucharaka (participation)


Chapter 3:  The Mechanisms of Co-optation of MSP-Hamas



3.1               The Impossible Mass Mobilization and the Over-valuation of a Minority Group 

3.2               The Unobtainable Support from the Top and the Authoritarian Incumbents’ Consensus 






Algeria at a Glance


Map of Algeria



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