Algeria’s PM condemns rumour-mongers, says president of Africa’s second largest country is in good health

March 12, 2010

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algeria’s prime minister has condemned rumour-mongers as “malicious groups seeking to undermine national unity.”

Algeria was this week gripped with rumours that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had died from bad health and that the government did not wish to announce his death until later to avoid uncertainty hanging over the oil-exporting country’s political scene.

No statement or comment was issued by the official news agency to quell the rumours, but Bouteflika eventually appeared alongside his brothers with football icon Zineddine Zidane, the French football captain whose family is Algerian.

“Those who spread the false rumours about the president and his health condition are seeking to erode national unity and undermine the morale of our citizens,” Ahmad Ouyahia said.

Similar rumours spread in Algeria in June 2008 amid speculations that Bouteflika, 71 at the time, was in poor health. However, the interior minister immediately denied the claims, thought to have spread after a decrease in the activities involving the president.

Bouteflika who was elected president for the first time in 1999 underwent surgery for gastrointestinal problems in November 2005 in France.

In 2006, he angrily denounced speculation about his health, saying that he had emerged in “an absolutely marvelous way” from his sickness.

The health of Bouteflika, who has made the elimination of terrorism in the giant oil-exporting country a major goal, is a critical factor in domestic political stability.

Algeria, home to 33 million people, is Africa’s second largest country.


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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