Thousands of Algerians on social media have welcomed seeing President Abdelamdjid Tebboune on video making his first appearance in almost two months after contracting coronavirus and being treated in Germany.
President Tebboune looked pale and gaunt in the clip that went out on his Twitter and Algerian state TV, yet promised to return to the country in a “few weeks”:
Sceptics however were left unimpressed and asked why the whereabouts of the president have not been specified and also questioned his capacity to take back his duties.
Mr. Tebboune was last seen in public on 15 October when he met with the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian. And since his hospitalisation in Germany, the authorities have several times announced his imminent return home.
His long absence and the lack of clarity about his condition fuel rumors in the North African country which had been tormented by the sickness of its former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
The 75-years-old current president is known to be a “heavy smoker”. He was advised on 24 October to self-isolate following a positive coronavirus case among his close staff.
His health deteriorated and was flown on 28 October to Germany for coronavirus treatment.
A year after his election on the promise to build “a new Algeria” the country is a state of limbo – many say the constitutional changes to be ushered in after a referendum fail to meet fully the demands of the Hirak protest movement.