Law experts say Vice President Joyce Banda will step in as Malawi’s Head of State after reports emerged that President Bingu wa Mutharika had suffered a cardiac arrest.
Mutharika was admitted to Kamuzu Central Hospital in the morning after he collapsed at State House.
Doctors are said to have attempted to resuscitate him but the condition remained critical.
Mutharika, 78, was being treated in the intensive care unit as several family and cabinet members, including his brother, Foreign Minister Arthur Mutharika, First Lady Callista were having a vigil at the clinic.
Government officials were not immediately available for comment. Meanwhile, lawyer Wapona Kita says the Constitution is clear that the Vice President takes over until the reminder of the presidential term in case of incapacitation.
“Section 83 (4) of the Constitution simply reads ‘whenever there is a vacancy in the office of President, the First Vice-President shall assume that office for the remainder of the term and shall appoint another person to serve as First Vice-President for the remainder of the term.”
Mutharika came to power in a 2004 election, and was re-elected with a large majority five years later.