ALGIERS, April 27 (Reuters) - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has a “health crisis” and has been told by his doctor to rest, a private Algerian television station reported on Saturday in a news flash.
Bouteflika’s health is a central factor in the stability of an oil-exporting country of 37 million emerging from a long conflict between government forces and Islamist insurgents.
Ennahar TV provided no detailed information on the president’s condition. Bouteflika, 75, was elected in 1999.
Bouteflika comes from a generation of leaders who have ruled Algeria since winning independence from France in the 1954-62 war. They also defeated Islamist insurgents in the 1990s and saw off the challenge of the Arab Spring two years ago.
Bouteflika has served three terms as president and is thought unlikely to seek a fourth. Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables said in 2011 that Bouteflika had been suffering from cancer, but it was in remission.
With a presidential election due in 2014 there is no clarity on who might take over Africa’s biggest country, an OPEC oil producer which supplies a fifth of Europe’s gas imports and cooperates with the West in combating Islamist militancy.
More than 70 percent of Algerians are aged under 30. About 21 percent of young people are unemployed, the International Monetary Fund says, and many are impatient with the gerontocracy ruling a country where jobs, wages and housing are the urgent concerns. (Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Writing by Stephen Powell; Editing by Jon Hemming)