Algeria president appears on TV to quash death rumours
Abdelaziz Bouteflika made a rare television appearance on Thursday, two weeks after reports alleging that he was hospitalised in France led to rumours of his death.
The 79-year-old president of Algeria, who suffers from a number of health issues and became wheelchair-bound after a stroke in April 2013, was shown on Algerian TV during a meeting with the Maltese prime minister, Joseph Muscat, who is visiting Algeria.
During the televised meeting, Bouteflika was shown to be talking to his Maltese guest "normally", dispelling rumours of ill health that had gained traction over the past few weeks.
|The president is supervising the implementation of his programme on a daily basis
- Abdelmalik Sallal
Last week, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sallal was forced to address the growing speculation about the president's health after 19 public figures wrote a letter expressing doubts about Bouteflika's ability to carry out his duties in office.
"The president is supervising the implementation of his programme on a daily basis and step by step," Sellal said on state television.
"State institutions must be respected," he said, calling for "an end to statements which provoke tensions in the country".
Despite his ailing health, Abdelaziz Bouteflika was reelected to a fourth consecutive term as president in April 2014.