16 July 2013

Algeria's Bouteflika Leaves France to Return Home

Photo: Sophie Paris/UN
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, left, meets UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (file photo).

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been in a French hospital since suffering a stroke in April, left France on Tuesday to return to Algeria, an airport source said.

"The plane left at 1329 from Le Bourget airport," the source said, declining to give further details.

Bouteflika, 76, has ruled over the North African oil and gas producer for more than a decade and has not said if he plans to run for another term in a presidential election in April 2014.

Bouteflika was shown on Algerian state television on June 12 meeting his prime minister and army chief at the Institution Nationale des Invalides in Paris. Otherwise he had not been seen in public since he was rushed to hospital in France on April 27.

Algeria has been run with Soviet-style opaqueness for decades by an elite drawn largely from men who fought in the war of independence against France from 1954 to 1962.

Bouteflika, who became president in 1999, is among the last of that generation of leaders who retain a tradition of secrecy dating back to their fear of betrayal when they were insurgents.

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