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Nigeria VP takes over for ailing president after parliamentary vote

[JURIST] Nigerian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan [Online Nigeria profile] will assume the role of president after the parliament voted on Tuesday for him to take over for ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua [BBC profile]. Jonathan reluctantly accepted [BBC report] the presidency under the circumstances and asked for the country to pray for Yar'Adua as he continues to battle a heart condition. The parliament's motion included [Nigeria Independent report] a clause that would return power to Yar'Adua upon his recovery. Yar'Adua has been receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia since late November.

Last month, a Nigerian court ruled that Yar'Adua is not required [JURIST report] to formally transfer his powers to Jonathan or any other interim leader. Also in January, the court ordered [JURIST report] Nigeria's cabinet to pass a resolution within 14 days on whether Yar'Adua is capable of running the country. A judge for Nigeria's Federal High Court ordered [JURIST report] Jonathan to assume executive powers in Yar'Adua's absence. In 2008, the Nigerian Supreme Court upheld the results of disputed 2007 election that brought Yar'Adua to power, despite opposition groups' allegations of fraud [JURIST reports].

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