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Algeria's president head to Switzerland for medical checks

Algeria's president head to Switzerland for medical checks


<p>Ahead of Algeria’s presidential elections in April, president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is seeking a fifth term in April elections, will head to Switzerland for “routine medical checks”, his office said Thursday.</p> <p>The 81-year-old will have a “short” stay in Geneva, it said in a statement carried by the government <span class="caps">APS</span> news agency.</p> <h2 style="font-size:16px;">Fir or not?</h2> <p>In power since 1999, Bouteflika has used a wheelchair and has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.</p> <p>He regularly visits hospitals overseas, most recently spending five days in Switzerland in August for unspecified tests.</p> <p>Bouteflika spent 80 days in hospital in Paris following his 2013 stroke, which affected his mobility and speech.</p> <p>He last appeared in public on November 1 and no longer delivers public speeches, fuelling constant speculation on his health.</p> <p>He did however appear on television on Thursday, alongside other senior officials attending the swearing-in of the new president of the Constitutional Council president Tayeb Belaiz.</p> <h2 style="font-size:16px;">Seeking a fifth term</h2> <p>On February 10 Bouteflika announced he would seek a fifth term in April elections, in a message published by state media, after he was endorsed by his party and the ruling coalition.</p> <p>“Of course, I am no longer the same physical force as before — something that I have never hidden from the people,” the statement read.</p> <p>“But the unwavering desire to serve… has never left me and it allows me to transcend the constraints linked to health troubles which everyone may one day face.”</p> <p>Last weekend Algerians held rallies against his fifth mandate, and social media users have called for Friday demonstrations to oppose his candidacy.</p> <a style="font-size:16px; font-color:yellow;" href="http://www.africanews.com/2019/02/11/algeria-highlights-of-bouteflika-s-long-presidency/"target="_blank"><span class="caps">SUGGESTED</span> <span class="caps">READING</span>: Highlights of Bouteflika’s long presidency</a> <p><strong><em><span class="caps">AFP</span></em></strong></p>

Of course, I am no longer the same physical force as before.

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