Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled today that President Hugo Chavez’s swearing-in ceremony set for Thursday can be delayed and no caretaker leader is required.
Chavez, 58, is recovering from cancer surgery and a lung infection in Cuba, and won’t be able to attend his inauguration, Reuters reported.
The country hasn’t rescheduled the ceremony, leaving many in opposition calling for emergency measures.
His supporters suggested the oath of office can happen almost anywhere at any time, a move the opposition says abuses the constitution.
“Right now, we cannot say when, how or where the president will be sworn in,” Supreme Court Chief Judge Luisa Morales said, according to Reuters.
“As president re-elect there is no interruption of performance of duties. ... The inauguration can be carried out at a later date before the Supreme Court.”
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With Chavez supporters and opposition parties jostling for position, it was a pro-Chavez newspaper columnist who brought the question to the court, The Associated Press said.
Marelys D’Arpino, who is also a lawyer, said “it was necessary to straighten out” the question before too long.
However, the opposition remains defiant and called upon foreign governments to boycott a planned Chavez rally on Thursday in Caracas.
Set to appear are Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and the foreign ministers of Ecuador and Argentina, among others.
“We ask the governments of other countries to please not involve themselves in a problem that is an internal problem of the governing party,” said Julio Borges of the opposition Justice First party, according to CNN.
Chavez hasn’t been seen since before the Dec. 11 surgery, his fourth in his battle against cancer. He has ruled Venezuela since 1999.
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