Algeria's Bouteflika returns home from Switzerland amid medical check-up

Algeria's Bouteflika returns home from Switzerland amid medical check-up
The result of the Algerian President's check-up have not been publicised.
2 min read
01 September, 2018
Bouteflika is expected to run his fifth term [Getty]

Algeria's frail President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke in 2013, returned home Saturday after undergoing a medical check-up in Switzerland, his office said.

The statement carried by the official APS news agency did not give details about the "routine medical check-up" the 81-year-old underwent in Switzerland.

Bouteflika has been weak since suffering a stroke in 2013, which diminished his mobility and forced him to work from his residence in Zeralda, west of Algiers.

He has since travelled abroad several times to undergo medical examinations in Paris, the southeastern French city of Grenoble and Geneva.

The president only makes rare public appearances, during which he is usually seen sitting in a wheelchair.

Rumours often swirl in Algeria about the state of the president's health, with opposition leaders quick to express concerns about a possible "power vacuum" if he were to die.

But with a presidential election due to take place in April 2019, politicians have already been preparing for a fifth term under Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999.

"As long as God keeps him alive, Bouteflika will definitely seek a fifth term," said Mohammed Hennad, political science professor at the University of Algiers.

The last presidential election saw a 50 percent abstention rate and it could reach a record high in 2019, with Algerians suffering from falling oil prices and youth unemployment at 30 percent.

Half of Algeria's 40-million population is now under the age of 30 and few young people remember the expectant days of their president's first term.