News / Africa

Algerian President Seeks Treatment in Paris

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika listens to the speech of Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi at the third European Union-Africa summit in Tripoli, November 2010.Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika listens to the speech of Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi at the third European Union-Africa summit in Tripoli, November 2010.
x
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika listens to the speech of Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi at the third European Union-Africa summit in Tripoli, November 2010.
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika listens to the speech of Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi at the third European Union-Africa summit in Tripoli, November 2010.
Lisa Bryant
— Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been seeking treatment at a Paris hospital, generating speculation he may be more sick than officially reported, and raising the prospect of a post-Bouteflika future for the oil-rich North African country.

Algeria's official APS news agency says Bouteflika is being treated for a minor stroke at the Paris-area Val-de-Grace military hospital. The news service published a message from Bouteflika earlier this week, saying he was on the road to recovery.

Algeria's private media, along with a number of analysts, however, believe Bouteflika's condition may be more serious than what has been officially disclosed. Included among this group is Mansouria Mokhefi, head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the Paris-based French Institute of International Relations.

"Algeria's president is an ailing president. We are told he suffered from a minor stroke, but if it was just a minor stroke, considering how Algeria is quite closed and quite secret, he would have been treated on the spot, in Algiers, secretly, privately, I would say," said Mokhefi.

 Bouteflika, 76, has been widely expected to run for a fourth presidential term next year. North African expert Naoufel Brahimi el Mili does not rule this out.

Interviewed on France 24 TV, he said that while Bouteflika's health raises questions about another presidential bid, Algeria's constitution allows for it - and if he is able, the Algerian leader will not hesitate to run.

What is clear is that Bouteflika's condition has stirred up a debate about what is next for Algeria. The nation's direction long has been shaped by the country's powerful military, which also is believed to have wielded enormous influence in selecting the country's leaders, including Bouteflika. Now, even within the military, there are calls for change, according to analyst Mokhefi.

"Algeria will enter a very uncertain transition period. Very uncertain, because Algeria has been so heavy, so closed, so shut down from everything that there is no opposition…. with a program, with personalities who can suddenly come with program ideas, strategies, whatsoever," he said.

Bouteflika took power in 1999, at the tail end of a civil war that pitted Islamist extremists against the military-backed government. He promised peace and national reconciliation, and hopes were high at the start of his tenure.

Today, though, many Algerians are dissatisfied. Unemployment is high, especially among the youth. And despite the country's vast oil and gas resources, much of the population is poor.

Even the peace promised by Bouteflika has proven elusive. There are ongoing pockets of protest, and attacks by Islamist rebels - including earlier this year, at the In Amenas gas plant near the Libyan border.

"In Algeria, you have unemployment, you have civil unrest, you have many uprisings all over the country, in different regions, for different reasons, by different chunks of the population. You have huge dissatisfaction with the system. You can consider that the Algerian people are totally divorced form the political system and their leaders," said Mokhefi.

Algerian opposition parties remain weak and divided. But Mokhefi said the uncertainty surrounding Bouteflika's condition may open the door to something new in post-independence Algeria: the chance for a credible opposition and a civilian leadership to emerge.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid