Ailing Bouteflika 'doing well' despite health scare

Bouteflika has been confined to a wheelchair since his stroke

Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika is "doing well" despite a health scare last week which forced him to postpone a meeting with the German Chancellor, the general secretary of his party said.
The president's office said he could not meet Angela Merkel in Algeria last Monday because he was suffering from bronchitis, but the 79-year-old has had persistent health woes leading to several periods in hospital over the past decade.
"The president is doing well and is carrying out his engagements as usual," Djamel Ould Abbes of the National Liberation Front said in remarks carried by the press agency APS on Sunday.
Bouteflika, Algeria's longest-serving leader, suffered a mini-stroke in 2013 that affected his mobility and speech.
The 79-year-old has since appeared in public on only a handful of occasions and has travelled several times to France for medical treatment.
Algerians had expected Bouteflika -- the North African country's longest-serving leader -- to step down at the end of his third term, but instead he won re-election in 2014, despite his frail health.
He has been confined to a wheelchair since his stroke, entertaining foreign guests at his home in Zeralda west of the capital and making few public appearances.
Bouteflika travelled to France in November for what the presidential office said was "periodic medical checks", but in recent months Abbes had said his health was improving -- even mentioning a possible fifth term in 2019.