Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika shocked many on Thursday after making a rare public appearance to cast his vote in the parliamentary elections.
The Algerians are voting to renew the 462 members of the National Assembly.
Bouteflika’s appearances in the public have been rare after he suffered a stroke in 2013 which affected his mobility and speech.The appearances continue to fuel speculation about the 79-year-old president’s health.
Presidential polls are not due until 2019, but Bouteflika’s opponents have called for early elections because of his physical frailty.
Speaking later last year, the newly elected Secretary of the the ruling National Liberation Front Ould Abbaes dropped a bombshell when he suggested that Abdelaziz Bouteflika would be the party’s candidate for the 2019 presidential election if he wishes.
Bouteflika is usually only seen in brief state television videos greeting visiting dignitaries at his presidential residence.
Talks of a transition come at a time when Algeria is trying to cut spending and subsidies to offset a sharp drop in revenue from oil sales.