Sources: Algerian president hospitalized in France

AP News
Posted: Nov 14, 2014 3:13 PM

PARIS (AP) — Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been admitted to a hospital in France, two French officials said Friday.

The ailing 77-year-old leader was admitted to the Clinique d'Alembert in Grenoble on Thursday, the officials told The Associated Press. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Neither official could say why Bouteflika was hospitalized.

He has been hospitalized in France several times, most recently in January for what his office called a routine checkup.

Last year Bouteflika was hospitalized for four months in Paris after suffering a stroke.

Algeria's presidency on Friday declined to comment on Bouteflika's health or his whereabouts.

Bouteflika has led Algeria since 1999. He was re-elected to a fourth term in April, despite being totally absent from the election campaign, and he has rarely been seen in public since. His opponents have claimed that he is not physically fit to rule.

Concerns over Bouteflika's health began during his second term in 2005, when he secretly entered the Val de Grace military hospital in Paris for a bleeding ulcer.

Power in Algeria is concentrated in the hands of the president, who rules in an uneasy consensus with top military, intelligence and party officials. He has no obvious successor, and there are fears that his death could ignite a struggle for control among the elites.