November 15, 2016 / 6:51 PM / 3 years ago

Algeria's Bouteflika returns from medical check-up in France: state media

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks on during a swearing-in ceremony in Algiers April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika returned home on Tuesday after an eight-day trip to France for a medical check-up, state media reported.

A statement from the Algerian presidency broadcast on state radio said Bouteflika “underwent periodic medical checks” during a private visit to Grenoble, without giving further details.

The Algerian leader, 79, has been seen only occasionally in public since suffering a stroke in 2013. He has visited Europe several times for treatment and remained in hospital in France for months after his stroke.

Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria’s 1954-62 independence war, has governed the North African OPEC state for more than 15 years, and was re-elected in 2014 after a campaign in which he was only seen when he came out to vote in a wheelchair.

His physical frailty has spurred debate about whether he will complete his current term, which ends in 2019.

Bouteflika’s opponents have called for an early presidential election, though his supporters say he is in charge and able to rule the country. He has made several public appearances over the last few weeks.

Bouteflika led Algeria out of international isolation and a war with armed Islamists that left an estimated 200,000 people dead in the 1990s. He is seen by many Algerians as a symbol of stability.

Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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