Uncertainty grows in Algeria as Bouteflika travels for ‘routine medical check\'
GENEVA - Algeria's ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika travelled to Geneva on Sunday for a "routine medical check", his office announced, at a time of renewed speculation over his health.
Bouteflika, 79, suffered a stroke in 2013 that has impeded his mobility and speech. In December, he underwent two days of medical tests at a cardiology unit in France.
His office, in a statement, said Bouteflika travelled to Geneva "for a private visit during which he will undergo a routine medical check".
The health of the president, who was re-elected in April 2014 to serve a fourth five-year term, has been a hot topic of conversation in Algeria over the past two weeks.
Speculation over his successor has been rife in Algerian media and on social media since visiting French Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted a picture of a very weak-looking Bouteflika on April 10.
On the rare occasions that he appears in public, usually to receive foreign dignitaries, he has been in a wheelchair and speaking with difficulty.
Bouteflika had already been hospitalised in Paris in 2005 because of an intestinal haemorrhage from which he never fully recovered.
In early 2006, he spent a week undergoing post-operative medical exams at the same hospital.
Several months later he disappeared from public view for 50 days, again sparking speculation about his health and whereabouts.
Then a year after his surgery, he said he had been "very, very sick" but had "come out absolutely fabulous".
"People need to stop talking about my health," he said.
Bouteflika's decision to seek a fourth mandate sparked criticism from those who questioned his ability to rule.
He did not campaign and voted from a wheelchair, but still won 81 percent of the vote.