Bouteflika, sitting on a wheelchair, votes in the presidential elections in Algiers.
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When Abdelaziz Bouteflika ran for a fourth term as Algeria's president a year ago, the opposition cautioned that he would be too sick to govern.The absence of Algeria's stricken president from daily life is being felt more keenly than ever as the basis of this oil-rich North African nation's stability, its oil money, is under threat.With a powerful army and plenty of money from its oil and gas reserves, Algeria has always been able to muddle through despite a leadership long resistant to reforms.Bouteflika, who was re-elected April 17 last year with more than 80 percent of the vote, was credited with bringing the country out of its brutal civil war in the 1990s and overseeing a period of prosperity supported by high oil prices.Riccardo Fabiani, North Africa analyst with the Eurasia Group, believes Algeria's economy can endure the uncertainties in oil prices for at least four more years, given its low external debt and still substantial foreign reserves.
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