Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has returned home after two weeks of stay in Switzerland’s Geneva for “routine medical checks,” confirmed a statement by the President Office.

The presidential aircraft carrying Bouteflika landed on Boufarik Military Airport, some 45 km southwest of the capital Algiers, at 5:48 p.m. local time (1648 GMT)on Sunday. Bouteflika was immediately escorted to the State Residence in western Algiers under strict security after the landing.

He had been admitted in Geneva’s University Hospital on Feb. 24 for “routine medical checks.” Bouteflika is likely to hold urgent meetings with senior officials to discuss the developments in the country, including recent popular protest movement.

Millions of Algerians have been staging continuous rallies across the country since Feb. 22, after 82-year-old Bouteflika announced his intention to run for presidential election on April 18.

On Sunday, retailers and merchants closed their stores, while workers at several state-run companies and institutions staged sit-ins in response to general strike call. Opposition parties, for their part, have been holding continuous consultations to reach consensus over the steps to take, in a bid to force the government to take into consideration the claims of this wide-scale protest movement. Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013, and he was re-elected in 2014 for a fourth term until 2019.

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