ALGIERS (AFP) – Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is to return home within days after a month of hospitalisation in Germany with coronavirus, his office said on Monday.
The announcement appears aimed at ending speculation over a political vacuum fuelled by scant details on Tebboune’s condition and his lengthy absence.
“The president of the republic assures the Algerian people about his health, that he is on the way to recovery and will be returning home in the coming days,” his office said in a statement.
The presidency said Tebboune left the hospital and was having a “period of convalescence” as recommended by his medical team. It gave no other details.
Tebboune, 75, was hospitalised in Germany on October 28 to undergo “in-depth medical examinations”, according to the presidency. He was transferred from a specialised facility in the Algerian capital days after going into self-isolation following reports of novel coronavirus cases among his aides.
A day before he was transferred abroad, the presidency said Tebboune’s “state of health does not raise any concern” but a week later it announced he contracted Covid-19.
While he was still in hospital in Germany, his office also said that the President had finished his treatment and was undergoing “post-protocol medical tests”.
But medical updates have been irregular and his absence triggered uncertainty over the leadership of the oil-rich North African country.
For many Algerians, Tebboune’s case recalled the power vacuum that followed the hospitalisations abroad of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013.
The veteran leader, who stepped down in April 2019 weeks into mass protests against his bid for a fifth term in office, stayed in hospital for nearly three months after the stroke.
Monday’s statement was the first released by Tebboune’s office since mid-November. But questions remain over details on his recovery and the duration of his convalescence.
Tebboune is expected to enact a new constitution after a referendum on November 1 in his absence.
The revised constitution is seen as aiming to bury the mass anti-government protests that saw Bouteflika step down, and also to boost Tebboune who was elected on a record low turnout last December.