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The medical woes of Algeria's Bouteflika

By AFP

Added 26th March 2019 07:51 PM

In power since 1999 Bouteflika, now 82, was weakened by a stroke in 2013

Algeria's army chief called Tuesday for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be declared unfit to govern. The ailing leader has had a litany of health woes, with several periods in hospital.

In power since 1999 Bouteflika, now 82, was weakened by a stroke in 2013 which affected his mobility and speech, and in rare recent public appearances he was in a wheelchair.

Here is a timeline of his health problems:

Ulcer

- November 26-December 17, 2005: Bouteflika is admitted for three weeks to the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris. Despite a quasi information blackout, a single Algerian medical bulletin revealed he was operated on for a "haemorrhagic ulcer in the stomach".

He spends two weeks convalescing in Paris before returning to Algiers.

- From April 19-21, 2006, he is again admitted to Val-de-Grace for post-operative check-ups.

Stroke

- April 27-July 16, 2013: He is hospitalised for 80 days in Paris following a stroke, initially at Val-de-Grace before moving to an institution for disabled people for rehabilitation.

A June 11 health bulletin says Bouteflika suffered a transient ischaemic attack, or mini-stroke, on April 27, which has "not affected his vital functions".

After tests, "his doctors recommended that he observe a period of convalescence and functional rehabilitation to consolidate his recovery".

- January 13-16, 2014: Medical checks at Val-de Grace.

Votes from wheelchair

- On April 17, 2014 in his first public appearance since May 2012, he votes in the presidential election from a wheelchair. He wins despite his health problems.

- November 13-15, 2014: He is briefly hospitalised in Grenoble in southern France. According to regional newspaper Le Dauphine Libere, he was in a cardio-vascular unit.

- December 3, 2015: Another visit to France for a "short private visit", during which he has "regular medical check-ups".

Weakened

- April 24-29, 2016: Bouteflika has "regular medical check-ups" in Geneva. His health becomes a topic for speculation at home after the publication on April 10 of a photograph, tweeted by then French premier Manuel Valls, in which he seems very weakened.

- November 7-15, 2016: Again in Grenoble for a medical check-up.

- February 20, 2017: His office announces the postponement of a visit to Algeria by German Chancellor Angela Merkel because Bouteflika was "temporarily unavailable" due to "chronic bronchitis".

On May 4 he makes a public appearance to vote -- again in a wheelchair -- at the legislative elections.

- From August 27 to September 1, 2018 he undergoes a "routine medical check-up" in Geneva, according to his office. It does not go into details.

- On December 3, 2018, his office says he called off a meeting with visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman because of "heavy flu".

- On February 24, 2019, two weeks after announcing he will seek a fifth term on April 18, Bouteflika heads to Geneva for "routine medical checks".

- On March 10, after a two-week stay, Bouteflika returns to Algeria. The next day he pulls out of the race for a fifth term and postpones the election. But it later emerges he plans to stay on indefinitely beyond the end of his mandate.

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