.
.
.
.

Algeria’s Bouteflika, unseen for months, makes cabinet appearance

Published: Updated:

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, unseen for months because of health problems, headed over a cabinet meeting on Sunday for the first time this year.

The 76-year-old leader who has been in power for 14 years presided over a cabinet he reshuffled earlier this month, which has already approved seven draft laws, including the 2014 budget, the Algerian state news agency reported.

In the surprise sweeping cabinet changes, Bouteflika replaced a third of ministers along with a rumored purge of the military intelligence services. The changes have raised speculations that he will seek re-election in 2014 or an extension of his current term.

Bouteflika returned home in July after he was flown to Paris in April for hospital treatment after suffering what his doctors described as a mini-stroke.

Critics have said his health concerns should rule out an extension of his time in office but his allies indicated they would back him should he seek re-election next year or extend his current term by two years through a constitutional amendment.

Bouteflika came to power in 1999 after he helped to end the country's civil war. He is one of the few remaining veterans of the war of independence against France.

(With AFP)