Algeria opposition warns over president's absence

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ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — One of Algeria's main opposition politicians has warned that the country is in a state of paralysis because of the ongoing absence of the ailing president in the midst of a series of crises.

Algeria is a major U.S. ally in the fight against terror and new radical group kidnapped and murdered a French hiker in the mountains last week.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 77, however, has made no public statements about the incident or spoken with French officials.

His main opponent in the April elections, Ali Benflis, said Tuesday said there is a "vacancy in power" and major decisions are being made by people neither qualified nor legitimate.

Oil-rich Algeria is a large regional power and involved in negotiating an end to conflicts in neighboring Mali and Libya.

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