Algeria: Bouteflika Makes TV Appearance for First Time in Months

bouteflika-wheelchairAlgerian leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika Sunday appeared on state-run television, after rumors about his health and his ability to rule mounted since he failed to receive German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month.

The 80-year old ailing leader was seen receiving the country’s minister for African Union and Arab League affairs, Abdelkader Messahel, but the talks were not aired.

Last month, the presidency cancelled in a last minute a planned visit by Angela Merkel on health grounds.

Iranian leader Hassan Rohani also had to cancel his March 12 visit to Algiers for the same reasons and the following days, Bouteflika failed to receive Spain’s top diplomat Alfonso Dastis.

The Algerian leader has been confined to a wheelchair since he suffered a stroke in 2013.

Ahmed Ouyahia, head of the National Democratic Rally (RND) and also chief of staff of the Algerian presidency lambasted critics arguing that Bouteflika was sound and able to govern.

“I come here at Illizi to reassure you on the health of the President of the Republic. There have been a lot of rumours over past days about his health. And I can assure you that he normally carries out his function,” Ouyahia told Illizi radio over the weekend.

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