Algeria confirms President Tebboune has Covid-19

The office of the Algerian president says he has responded well to treatment in Germany

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 21, 2020, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune meets with the visiting France's foreign minister in the capital Algiers. The Algerian presidency confirmed on November 3, 2020 that Abdelmadjid has Covid-19.
He was transferred from a hospital in Algiers to Germany on October 28, 2020, officials said, days after the 74-year-old went into self-isolation following reports of suspected coronavirus cases among his aides. / AFP / RYAD KRAMDI

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has tested positive for Covid-19, days after he was flown to what his office called a "specialist hospital" in Germany.

The confirmation of Mr Tebboune's illness comes two days after Algerians voted in a controversial referendum to amend the constitution, a move seen by some as an attempt to steer the country out of an ongoing political crisis.

Mr Tebboune succeeded President Abdulaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign in April amid mounting protests. The former president had been in power for 20 years, but left the country in a state of political paralysis.

In a fresh blow to the government, only 23 per cent of Algerians turned out for the referendum vote, according to the National Independent Elections Authority (ANIE).

Mr Tebboune's illness also comes as Algeria reckons with a looming economic crisis due to low oil prices.

The government, headed by the 74-year-old politician, had launched a campaign to persuade citizens to vote in favour of the new constitution, which contained guarantees for greater political freedom, crackdowns on political corruption and term limits for the president and MPs.

Critics of the new constitution, backed by a nationwide protest movement known as the Hirak, or "movement," claim the referendum was a transparent attempt to appease demonstrators.

Cale Brown, Deputy Spokesperson at the US Department of State, issued a statement following the news of Mr Tebboune's illness.

"US-Algerian relations are longstanding, deep, and growing stronger, and we look forward to continuing to work with President Tebboune, his government, and the Algerian people," the statement read.

It is unclear when, or if Mr Tebboune will be well enough to return to Algiers.

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