Paris, Asharq Al-Awsat—Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika returned to Algiers on Saturday, following a 48-hour brief stay at a hospital in France. The reasons for his admittance were not made public by either the French or the Algerian authorities.
French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré, however, said on Thursday the Algerian president had been admitted to the cardiology unit at the Clinique d’Alembert, a private clinic in the southeastern city of Grenoble, to undergo a checkup.
Bouteflika currently suffers from paralysis to the right side of his body following a stroke in April 2013.
He must now use a wheelchair and makes few public appearances. He was, however, seen earlier this month attending celebrations in Algiers marking the 60th anniversary of the start of the country’s War of Independence, of which the 77-year-old Bouteflika is a veteran.
Bouteflika has, since his stroke, made three visits to France, all at the Val-de-Grâce military hospital in Paris, to receive treatment and undergo an operation. Le Dauphiné Libéré said he had decided to seek treatment at the Clinique d’Alembert this time due to the doctor who is observing his case moving there.
Meanwhile, there was no official statement from the Élysée Palace regarding Bouteflika’s visit to France, with French diplomatic sources saying Paris did not want to touch on this “sensitive” topic, or damage French–Algerian relations, which are currently undergoing a resurgence since President François Hollande was elected in 2012, following a relatively tense period during the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy.
Economic relations between the two countries have also improved, with French car giant Renault opening a factory in Algeria last Monday, the first since the latter gained independence from France in 1962.
Both Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron were present at the opening ceremony of the plant, and met with the Algerian president.
On his return to Paris, Fabius told reporters Bouteflika was “having some difficulty speaking” but that his mental abilities remained unimpaired.
Bouteflika was re-elected to serve a fourth term as Algeria’s president following an 81.53-percent victory in elections in April.
French newspaper Le Monde ran a full-page feature on Sunday on the future of the country, focusing on possible successors to the ailing president.