The official visit of Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel to Algeria has been postponed because President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is “temporarily unavailable” due to “acute bronchitis,” said Monday the Presidency of the Republic in a communique.
“Algerian and German authorities agreed today to postpone the official visit of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel, to Algeria,” said the communiqué.
“The visit will be rescheduled to a date agreed on by the two sides,” added the communiqué.
The visit has been postponed because “President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is at his residence in Algiers, is temporarily unavailable due to an acute bronchitis,” said the Presidency of the Republic.
Bouteflika’s health conditions
Bouteflika was last seen openly in public two years ago when he voted from a wheelchair in a ballot in which he won a fourth term. Since then he has appeared only in brief state television videos, usually seated, greeting dignitaries like Ban Ki Moon at the Zeralda presidential residence.
Government officials and ruling party FLN loyalists dismiss doubts over Bouteflika’s health, and warn pretenders they will have to wait until the president’s term ends in 2019.
“No one will get rid of the president with a photograph on Twitter,” FLN chief Amar Saadani told a party gathering. “The president is fine, the country is fine, the party is fine.”
Bouteflika was “running the country’s affairs properly” and Algerians were aware of his condition when they re-elected him in 2014, said Ahmed Ouyahia, leader of the second pro-government party, Rassemblement National Democratique.