Ailing Bouteflika’s return fails to reassure Algerians

from the Financial Times..

July 17, 2013

By Borzou Daragahi in Cairo

Algeria’s ailing president has returned home after 80 days in a Paris hospital, but questions remain about his health and the country’s political future ahead of 2014 presidential elections.


Mr Bouteflika’s absence following the April 27 stroke has raised concerns about the oil and gas-rich country’s political future, particularly the balance of power between the entrenched armed forces and a new class of commercially well-connected civilian leaders.

It has also left many projects at a standstill, including the signing of a supplementary budget act for 2013.

An attempt to amend the country’s constitution to create a position of vice-president has also been put on hold, as well as a cabinet reshuffle the president was contemplating.


“The muted images [on television] showed the president having a hard time moving his upper body,” wrote a commentator for the daily newspaper, El Watan.

“This staged scene has the opposite effect of what the powers expected. It has strengthened doubts about his capacity to run the country and undermined the calming talk of officials who kept saying every day that the president manages the affairs of state and follows the daily action of government.”

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