The head of Algeria's main Islamist political party has called for the country's ailing president to appear on television to dispel rumors over his health after a three week absence.

Abderrazzak Mukri, the leader of the Movement of Society for Peace, warned that if the president did not soon appear, it would require invoking constitutional powers allowing his removal for health reasons.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 76, suffered a mini-stroke on April 27 and was rushed to a French military hospital where he has remained.

The government has said he is fine and following events from abroad but rumors are rife that his condition is much worse.

An editor of two newspapers said publication was blocked after he rejected an order to remove a story that claimed Bouteflika was in a coma.