Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika returns home

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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika meeting ministersImage source, AFP/ALGERIAN PRESS SERVICE
Image caption,
President Bouteflika (r) met ministers upon his return to Algiers

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria has flown home after nearly three months of medical treatment at a hospital in Paris.

The 76-year-old arrived at a military airport in Algeria after a two-hour flight, officials say.

Mr Bouteflika, who has led the gas-rich North African state for a decade, went to Paris after a mini-stroke in April.

Analysts say his health issues have all but ended his chances of running for another presidential term next year.

After arriving back in Algeria, the president "will continue a period of rest and rehabilitation", said a statement carried by the official APS news agency. A photograph was released which showed him meeting cabinet ministers.

Last of a generation

The paucity of official information about his medical condition since his hospital admission in April has been a source of concern in Algeria.

After a period in the famous Val-de-Grace hospital, where many world leaders have been treated, Mr Bouteflika was transferred to the Invalides National Institution, a military hospital in central Paris.

Speculation had been growing that his condition had deteriorated.

Image caption,
Mr Bouteflika became president in 1999

Some opposition figures suggested that the Constitutional Council in Algiers ought to declare the presidential post vacant, and appoint an interim leader until new elections were held.

On 12 June, Algerian state media released images and video of Mr Bouteflika convalescing. State television showed him meeting his prime minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, and the army chief, General Salah Gaid, at the Invalides National Institution.

The footage - which was silent - showed him drinking coffee. Mr Bouteflika has not said if he plans to run for another term in Algeria's presidential election, which is due to take place in April 2014.

He became president in 1999 and is regarded as being among the last of a generation of leaders who fought in the 1954-1962 war of independence from France.

Mr Bouteflika was in hospital in France for nearly a month in 2005, for the treatment of a bleeding ulcer, the AFP news agency reports.

A leaked US diplomatic cable in 2007 suggested he might be suffering from terminal stomach cancer, and since being re-elected for a third term in 2009 he has rarely appeared in public or travelled outside the capital.

Before his latest illness, supporters within the ruling National Liberation Front had said they wanted to see the president seek a fourth term.

But since then several people have recently signalled that they would like to be the party's candidate instead.