The European Union on Saturday joined international calls for calm and a peaceful transfer of power in Malawi after the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika.
In a joint statement on behalf of the EU, European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said they wished to convey their "deepest condolences to Vice-President Joyce Banda and the people of Malawi for the sudden passing of President Bingu wa Mutharika.
"On this sad day, our thoughts are with the people of Malawi and the family of the president as they mourn their loss," it said, adding that Mutharika "will be remembered as a champion of food security in Africa and for his success in achieving national food security in Malawi.
"Malawi has in the past 20 years become an example of democracy with its peaceful transitions of power and respect for the constitution and the outcome of elections. We express our hope that this tradition will be respected and that there will be a calm and peaceful transition of power in full respect of the provisions of the constitution," it added.
The official announcement of Mutharika's death ended two days of political intrigue following his fatal heart attack on Thursday, as his inner circle scrambled for for ways to exclude Banda, who has been expelled by the ruling party.
But Saturday's official statement said, "The constitution of the Republic of Malawi shall be strictly adhered to in managing the transition."