A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bouteflika Cancels Merkel Meeting Due to "Bronchitis"

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has postponed a planned meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel due to "acute bronchitis." Bouteflika, who will turn 80 next week, has been confone to a wheelchair since a serious stroke in 2013, despite which he ran for and won a fourth term in 2014. He rarely appears in public, and then often with his much younger brother Said, 21 years his junior, who is seen as a power behind the throne and possible successor.

In recent years, the elder Bouteflika has frequently spent time in France for medical treatment, not always publicized. Since outmaneuvering and ousting his rivals in the security services, Algerians have tolerated his fragile health due to lack of a clear alternative. But there is a nervous uncertainty with every sign of worsening health, including the "acute  bronchitis."

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