Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke last year, has been admitted to a Paris hospital for a routine check-up, the state news agency APS reported on Tuesday.
A veteran of Algeria’s independence war against France, Bouteflika suffered a stroke in early 2013, forcing him to be rushed to hospital in France. He returned to Algeria in July to convalesce and has made only a few public appearances since, fuelling speculation about his deteriorating health.
Bouteflika, 76, has been at Paris’ Val-de-Grace hospital since Monday, the APS said, adding that the check-up had been scheduled since June 2013. He is expected to remain in hospital until Friday.
“The president’s health is improving certainly and progressively,” the news agency reported.
Presidential elections in Algeria
Algeria is scheduled to hold presidential elections in April. Bouteflika has yet to announce whether he will run again after more than 10 years at the helm of the country, which is a major oil producer.
With a cushion of $200 billion in reserves from oil and gas sales, OPEC-member Algeria is financially stable. Opposition parties are weak and Algerians have little appetite for major upheaval after a conflict with armed Islamists in the 1990s killed around 200,000 people.
Algeria’s ruling FLN party has so far touted Bouteflika as its only candidate, but his health has prompted analysts to surmise that he may be forced to hand over to a political successor.
The possibility of political uncertainty in Algeria comes at a sensitive time in North Africa, where Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are still struggling with democratic transitions after popular uprisings ousted their veteran leaders in 2011.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-01-14