Bouteflika 'reassures' Algerians from hospital
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, hospitalised in France at the weekend after suffering a mini-stroke, reassured Algerians on Tuesday about the state of his health, national media reported.
"It is very difficult for me, when I find myself in hospital abroad, not to be beside the Algerian people to celebrate Labour Day and attend the finals of the Algerian football cup and military football cup," he was quoted as saying by the APS news agency.
"While I continue to receive medical care, I thank almighty God for restoring me and setting me on the road to recovery," the 76-year-old president added.
Bouteflika was flown to the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris on Saturday after suffering a "transient ischaemia," or mini-stroke, official sources said, sparking intense speculation that his 14-year rule might be drawing to a close.
Officials in Algeria have been quick to allay fears over his condition, with his Algerian doctor telling AFP on Monday that he was making good progress.
But the media and analysts are openly questioning the implications of the latest health scare, less than a year before a presidential election, which some have suggested he might yet contest if he recovers.
The ageing president's health has been an endless source of speculation in Algeria since 2005 when he had surgery at the same military hospital in Paris for a bleeding stomach ulcer and spent a long period convalescing.
MC Algiers and USM Algiers, two rival teams from the capital, are due to meet on Wednesday for Algeria's 49th football cup final, an eagerly anticipated annual event that Bouteflika normally attends.
© 2013 AFP