Algeria's Bouteflika back in Paris hospital: Office

AFP , Tuesday 14 Jan 2014

Algeria's ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been flown to Paris for a "routine check-up" at the same military hospital where he was treated last year for a mini-stroke, his office said Tuesday.

"Bouteflika has been at the Val-de-Grace hospital since Monday for a routine medical check-up," his office said in a statement quoted by Algerian media, adding that his general condition was improving "surely" and "steadily."

The statement was at pains to emphasise that the visit gave no new cause for concern about the 76-year-old president, who has ruled Algeria since 1999 and whose health has been a constant source of speculation in Algeria in recent years.

The check-up will last from Monday to Friday, the president's office said, adding that no "emergency procedure has dictated this planned trip."

Algeria's head of state was rushed to the Val-de-Grace hospital in April last year and subsequently moved to the Invalides National Institution, where he spent 80 days receiving treatment for what his doctors described as a mini-stroke.

A frail-looking Bouteflika returned to Algiers in a wheelchair in July, and has not been seen or heard in public since, fuelling speculation about his ability to rule, or contest a planned presidential election in April.

The ruling National Liberation Front has nevertheless nominated him as its official candidate to stand for what would be his fourth term.

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