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Algeria’s President Bouteflika 'hospitalised' in France

Farouk Batiche, AFP | Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in a wheelchair as he is sworn in for a fourth term on April 28

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke last year, has been hospitalised in the Alpine city of Grenoble, French police and government sources said on Friday.

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“He was taken into care at Grenoble mutualist clinic yesterday,” the police source told Reuters, although no reason was given as to why Bouteflika, 77, had been admitted.

A spokesman for the Algerian government was not immediately available for a comment, but Echorouk TV, seen as close to the government, cited a presidential source as saying Bouteflika was at home and in normal health.

A veteran of Algeria’s independence war against France, Bouteflika became the country’s youngest minister at the age of 25, and has ruled the country since 1999.

He suffered a stroke in early 2013 and was rushed to hospital in France. The Algerian president has since returned to France for several check-ups.

Despite widespread speculation about his ability to lead, Bouteflika ran for a fourth term in office earlier this year, which he won in April with more than 80 percent of the vote. The country’s opposition refused to recognise the result, dismissing the vote as a large-scale fraud.

Concern for presidency in Algeria

Bouteflika’s continued frail health, however, has left questions about what will happen next, who replaces him if he cannot govern for the entire term ,and how that would affect political and economic reforms and oil investment in the North African country.

French media on Friday showed pictures and video footage of the area around the clinic being cordoned off by police.

Local newspaper Le Dauphine, citing different unidentified sources, said Bouteflika had been admitted to the cardiology and cardio-vascular diseases division of the clinic.

A hospital spokeswoman and the French foreign ministry declined to comment.

Bouteflika met French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Algiers earlier this week to discuss bilateral ties between the countries.

“He has a small problem with his speech, but intellectually he is working very well,” Fabius said on Monday.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
 

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