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The medical woes of Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Monday February 11 2019

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is seen while voting at a polling station in the capital Algiers during polls for local elections on November 23, 2017. He will seek a fifth term in April elections PHOTO | RYAD KRAMDI | AFP  

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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is reportedly seeking a fifth term in April elections, has had persistent health woes leading to several periods in hospital over more than a decade.

In power since 1999 the 81-year-old was weakened by a stroke in 2013 which affected his mobility and speech, and in rare recent public appearances he was in a wheelchair.

Here is a timeline of his health problems:

- November 26-December 17, 2005: Bouteflika admitted for three weeks to the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris. Despite a quasi information blackout, a single Algerian medical bulletin revealed he was operated on for a "haemorrhagic ulcer in the stomach".

He spent two weeks convalescing in Paris before returning to Algiers.

- From April 19-21, 2006, he was again admitted to Val-de-Grace for post-operative check-ups.


- April 27-July 16, 2013: hospitalised for 80 days in Paris following a stroke, initially at Val-de-Grace before moving to an institution for disabled people for rehabilitation.

A June 11 health bulletin said Bouteflika suffered a transient ischaemic attack, or mini-stroke, on April 27, which has "not affected his vital functions".

After tests, "his doctors recommended that he observe a period of convalescence and functional rehabilitation to consolidate his recovery".

- January 13-16, 2014: Medical checks at Val-de Grace.

- On April 17, 2014 in his first public appearance since May 2012, he voted in the presidential election from a wheelchair. He won despite his health problems.

- November 13-15, 2014: briefly hospitalised in Grenoble in southern France. According to regional newspaper Le Dauphine Libere, he was in a cardio-vascular unit.


- December 3, 2015: Another visit to France for a "short private visit", during which he had "regular medical check-ups".

- April 24-29, 2016: Bouteflika had "regular medical check-ups" in Geneva. His health became a topic for speculation at home after the publication on April 10 of a photograph, tweeted by then French premier Manuel Valls, in which he seemed very weakened.

- November 7-15, 2016: Again in Grenoble for a medical check-up.

- February 20, 2017: His office announced the postponement of a visit to Algeria by German Chancellor Angela Merkel because Bouteflika was "temporarily unavailable" due to "chronic bronchitis".

On May 4 he makes a public appearance to vote -- again in a wheelchair -- at the legislative elections.

From August 27 to September 1, 2018 he undergoes a "routine medical check-up" in Geneva, according to his office. It does not go into details.

On December 3, 2018, his office says he called off a meeting with visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman because of "heavy flu".

Bouteflika, whose appearances in public are rare, no longer speaks in public.