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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid