President Abdelaziz Bouteflika gestures during a swearing-in ceremony in Algiers. Picture: Louafi Larbi


Algiers - Abdelaziz Bouteflika was sworn in as Algeria's president for a fourth term Monday, in a televised ceremony after his re-election in a campaign he was too sick to participate in.

Sitting in a wheelchair and dressed in a blue three-piece suit and red tie, Bouteflika placed his right hand on the Koran as he repeated in a frail voice the oath read out by Supreme Court chief Slimane Boudi.

The 77-year-old then issued a brief statement in which he said his election was a “victory for the state”.

At the start of the ceremony, Bouteflika had placed his hands on his knees as he inspected soldiers following a display of their weapons outside the beachfront Palace of Nations resort.

After shaking hands with the head of a constitutional panel, Mourad Medelci, and members of his government, Bouteflika was greeted by celebratory ululation.

Bouteflika, who was also in a wheelchair when he cast his own ballot on election day, has hardly been seen in public since a mini-stroke which confined him to hospital in Paris for three months last year.

Official results showed he won 81.5 percent of the votes in an election marred by low turnout and claims of fraud by his opponents, including main rival Ali Benflis, who received just 12.18 percent.

The opposition had said they would boycott Monday's swearing in ceremony, including five parties that had called on their supporters to stay away from the election.

Bouteflika remains very popular with many Algerians for helping to end a devastating civil war in the 1990s, although many people had been clamouring for change. - Sapa-AFP