Algeria's Bouteflika returns from Geneva medical trip: state media

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 29, 2016 10:19 AM

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 79, has returned to Algiers after a brief visit to Geneva for medical checkups, his latest since a stroke three years ago that has mostly kept him out of the public view.

"The president of the republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, returned to the country on Friday," the presidency said in a statement on APS state news agency.

Bouteflika, who has governed the North African OPEC state for more than 15 years, left a week ago for "regular medical checkups", state media said.

He has visited Paris and Geneva several times since the stroke in 2013 that left him in a French hospital for several months.

Since his re-election in 2014 to a fourth term, the veteran of the independence war against France has only been seen in periodic state television images and photographs, usually greeting visiting foreign dignitaries at his palace.

Bouteflika's illness has prompted speculation about a possible transition from a leader who helped bring the country out of a 1990s war with Islamist fighters and into more economic stability during the times of high oil prices.

He has steadily strengthened his loyalists' position since 2014 and reduced the Algerian military's long-running influence in politics by firing generals and revamping the DRS military intelligence agency.

(Reporting by Patrick Markey; Editing by Tom Heneghan)