TV shows Algerians first images of ailing leader

AP News
Posted: Jun 12, 2013 2:28 PM

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algerian television showed Wednesday the first images of the country's ailing president who hasn't been seen in public since an April 27 stroke that sent him to France for treatment.

The video shown Wednesday of the 76-year-old Bouteflika was clearly designed to stem rampant rumors that he had been totally incapacitated, or worse.

Viewers saw Bouteflika speaking during a visit in France on Tuesday with Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and the army chief of staff, Gen. Gaid Salah. The guests bent to hear him. The left side of the president's mouth appeared immobile as he ate pastry. He didn't move his left hand placed on a chair arm at Les Invalides military compound where he was convalescing.

Bouteflika's office waited until Tuesday to reveal he had had a full stroke.

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French media have been carrying increasingly grim reports about the leader's condition, suggesting he won't be able to continue carrying out his duties.

There is increasing speculation in Algeria that Bouteflika won't run for re-election in April as planned, possibly setting off a succession struggle in the oil-rich nation — Africa's largest by area.