Bouteflika to return to home after stroke
29 April 2013, 16:34
Algiers - President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, hospitalised in
France after suffering a mini-stroke, is in good health and will return to
Algeria within a week, his doctor was quoted as saying on Monday.
"The president is in very good health... He will come
back to Algeria in several days... in not more than seven days," Rachid
Bougherbal told the Algerian daily Ennahar, after speaking to Bouteflika on
The 76-year-old leader suffered a "transient
ischaemia" on Saturday and was flown to Paris for treatment at the Val de
Grace military hospital, which often receives high-profile patients.
Ennahar said Bouteflika had resisted being treated in
France, but the doctor had insisted, saying the analysis and scan required were
not available in Algeria.
Bougherbal, a cardiology professor, said that "every
year, 400 Algerians get this type of analysis done in France".
The doctor's remarks came as Algerian media and analysts
openly questioned the political implications of Bouteflika's latest health
scare, less than a year before a presidential election.
"The illness of the president feeds speculation,"
ran the headline of the independent French-language daily El Watan.
Officials in Algeria were quick to allay fears over his
But the question of a fourth presidential term for
Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999 and has suffered a series of
health problems since he was first elected, has come sharply into focus.
"Everything depends on the state of the president's
health... If he recovers, he will have his fourth term," said political
analyst Rachid Tlemcani, cited by El Watan.
Others argued that the latest development ended Bouteflika's
chances of running again. Rachid Grim, another political expert quoted in El
Watan, said "the question of a fourth term will no longer arise. It is
Algeria's decision-makers have already considered this
scenario, he said, adding that "it would not be surprising if they pulled
someone they have already prepared out of the hat".
"The future candidate will arrive like a letter in the
post," Grim said.
An editorial in the Quotidien d'Oran said the latest
deterioration in Bouteflika's health made "undeniable... the need to
question his ability to lead the country."
"It remains for him to understand clearly that the time
has come for him to step down in a serene and democratic manner," it
The Soir d'Algerie, another French-language newspaper,
insisted that the "current presidential term... appears to all senses like
a term too many".
Bouteflika began his current third term in 2009, after a
constitutional amendment allowed him to stand again, but he has not yet
indicated an intention to do so in 2014.