The Latest on Algeria’s president (all times local):
An Algerian government plane believed to be carrying President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has taken off from Geneva airport after about two weeks of medical treatment in Switzerland.
Bouteflika is believed to be returning home to Algeria, where massive demonstrations against his rule have taken place over the past few weeks.
The 82-year-old Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and he is seeking a fifth term in an April election, a move that has angered many Algerians.
The plane, which was hidden from view in a hangar, taxied onto the runway at Geneva airport as a rainbow came into view over the airport.
The top Algerian party backing beleaguered President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has broken its silence over massive demonstrations demanding the end of the regime, saying it’s ready to work with all parties to end the crisis.
The National Liberation Front, or FLN, said in a statement Sunday that it wants to find a way out of the crisis “with the least cost to the country.”
In a sign that powers-that-be may be ready for concessions, the statement praised the protest movement as a source of national pride.
Peaceful marches began Feb. 22. Calls for a general strike on Sunday were being heeded by many, with shops on major avenues in Algiers closed.
The 82-year-old Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and has been in a Geneva hospital for two weeks.