Algeria's president has dismissed one of his main advisers, a former prime minister and powerful head of the ruling party, banning him from further state service.

The announcement Wednesday came without any explanation for why Abdelaziz Belkhaddem had been stripped of his job as minister of state and special counselor to the presidency.

Belkhaddem, who has served as prime minister and the head of the ruling National Liberation Front party, has often been seen as a successor to the ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Belkhaddem was appointed an adviser during elections but made few public appearances.

On Monday Belkhaddem participated in a conference that featured several of the president's rivals, including Ali Benflis, his main opponent in April's elections.

Benflis harshly criticized Bouteflika during the conference.