State television showed Bouteflika sitting in a wheelchair to take
the oath and give a brief statement in one of his rare public
appearances since a stroke last year that raised questions about his
ability to govern.
"I thank the Algerian people for their renewed confidence,"
Bouteflika said in a weak voice, in his first public speech for at
least two years. "The April 17 election was a victory for democracy.
It was a lesson in democracy."
Under Bouteflika, a veteran of the war that ended with independence
in 1962, the OPEC producer has become a partner in Washington's
campaign against Islamist militancy in the Maghreb and a supplier of
about a fifth of Europe's gas imports.
But Bouteflika's condition has left questions about what happens
next, who replaces him if he cannot govern for the entire term and
how that impacts political and economic reforms and oil investment
in the North African country.
Many Algerians are wary about upheaval after their bloody war with
Islamist militants in the 1990s that killed 200,000 people.
Neighboring Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are also still overcoming
instability after their own 2011 revolts.
[to top of second column]
Bouteflika's allies have promised a constitutional revision to
strengthen Algeria's democracy and reforms to an oil-reliant economy
hampered by heavy state bureaucracy and restrictions on foreign
(Reporting by Patrick Markey and Hamid Ould Ahmed;
editing by Louise
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