Algerian voters approved a new constitution in 1996 that strengthened the role of the already-dominant executive. Under the constitution, a second legislative body called the Council of the Nation would join the already existent National Assembly. One-third of the Council was to be appointed by the president, and the other two-thirds elected by local and regional government. This body must approve, by a three-fourths vote, any legislation proceeding from the National Assembly.
Since the annulment of the 1991 election, the military has been the ultimate power in Algeria. In 1994 it appointed a retired general, Liamine Zeroual, to the presidency. In somewhat irregular elections, Zeroual was elected with 61% of the vote over three other candidates. In 1998, Zeroual announced he would step down as president before his term ended. Abdelaziz Bouteflika won the presidential election of April 1999; he was the lone candidate.
Elections for the National Assembly were held in June 1997, with pro-government parties winning 57% of the 380 seats.
Moderate Islamic parties won over 100 seats, with the rest of the seats going to independent candidates and an ethnic Berber party. Several opposition parties, including the FIS, were barred from participating. Regional and municipal council elections were held in October 1997, with the government's RND winning more than half of the seats.
Elections for the National Assembly were next held on 30 May 2002. The FLN took 1999 of the now 389 seats; the National Democratic Rally, Bouteflika's party, took 47 seats; Islah, the Movement for National Reform took 43 seats; the Movement for a Peaceful Society won 38 seats; the socialist Worker's Party won 21 seats; and smaller parties and independents took the remaining 41 seats. Again, the FIS was banned from participating. In local elections held 10 October 2002, the FLN won a majority of town councils and provincial assemblies.