Algeria’s president goes to Switzerland for medical checks

Ahead of Algeria’s presidential election in April, president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is seeking a fifth term, will head to Switzerland for “routine medical checks”, his office said Thursday.

The 81-year-old will have a “short” stay in Geneva, it said in a statement carried by the government APS news agency.

In power since 1999, Bouteflika has used a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

He regularly visits hospitals overseas, most recently spending five days in Switzerland in August for unspecified tests.

Bouteflika spent 80 days in hospital in Paris following his 2013 stroke, which affected his mobility and speech.

He last appeared in public on November 1 and no longer delivers public speeches, fuelling constant speculation on his health.

He did however, appear on television on Thursday, alongside other senior officials attending the swearing-in of the new president of the Constitutional Council, Tayeb Belaiz.

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