Algeria: president had full stroke, but recovering

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria’s president had a full stroke, not a mini-stroke as originally reported, but he is recovering with the help of physical therapy, his office said Tuesday.

Previously, the government had said that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 76, had a transient ischemic attack, a so-called mini-stroke. But the latest statement says it was a “cerebrovascular accident,” or a full stroke.

Bouteflika has not been seen in public since the April 27 stroke, and he was flown to France for treatment at the military hospital of Val-de-Grace. On June 2, he was moved to another French hospital for therapy.

Algeria’s evening news also reported Tuesday that Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and the army chief of staff, Gen. Gaid Salah, visited Bouteflika and briefed him on the situation in his country.

The report said Bouteflika was in good condition and gave orders to ensure markets have adequate food supplies ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan set to begin July.

The television report did not include any images of the president.

A mini-stroke is a brief constriction of a cerebral artery and results in a short period of disorientation that can be quickly recovered from. Full strokes, however, require a longer period of therapy.

“This kind of therapy indicates that his motor or neurological functions were affected by the accident,” said Dr. Mohammed Said Amokrane, a cardiologist in Algiers. “Functional rehabilitation, especially in the elderly like the president, can take months.”

At the time, the Algerian government said that none of his vital functions had been affected.

French media have been carrying increasingly grim reports about the leader’s condition, suggesting he won’t be able to continue carrying out his duties.

There is increasing speculation in Algeria that Bouteflika won’t run for re-election in April as planned, setting off a succession struggle in the oil-rich nation — Africa’s largest by area.

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Associated Press reporter Karim Kebir contributed to this report.

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