Algeria’s ruling FLN party head quits

ALGIERS (Reuters) - The leader of Algeria’s ruling party, 84-year old Djamal Ould Abbes, resigned on Wednesday due to health concerns, state news agency APS said.

His departure comes at a sensitive time as presidential elections are due in April 2019 and no official candidate has been nominated by the party.

The FLN (National Liberation Front), which led the independence war against France from 1954 to 1962, is made up off influential veterans including President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 81. He has not said whether he will seek a fifth term.

Bouteflika, in office since 1999, has made few public appearances since a stroke in 2013.

Algeria is a strong U.S. ally in the fight against militants in the Sahel and it is a top gas supplier to Europe.

Reporting by Lamine Chikhi, editing by Ulf Laessing and Angus MacSwan