Venezuela to Postpone Chavez Inauguration
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has been in power since 1999 and was elected for a fourth term in office in October. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Venezuela will postpone the inauguration of President Hugo Chavez for a new term due to health problems, the government has confirmed.
The decision was announced by Nicolas Maduro, the vice president, in a letter to National Assembly, which said:
"The commander president wants us to inform that, based on his medical team's recommendations, the post-operative recovery should extend past January 10."
"As a result, he will not be able to be present at the National Assembly on that date."
The letter said authorities would seek another date for the inauguration ceremony but did not say when it would take place, nor give any time frame for Chavez's recovery or his return from Havana.
Rather than being sworn in by the legislature, he would take his oath at a later date before the Supreme Court, the letter said, as allowed by the constitution.
The constitution says the president should begin a new term on January 10 but does not specify what happens if the president does not take office by that date.
The president has not been seen in public since having cancer surgery in Havana, prompting persistent speculation about his condition.
Chavez, 58, had his fourth operation for cancer in Cuba on 11 December and then developed a respiratory infection.
He has been in power since 1999 and was elected for a fourth term in office in October.
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