MEXICO CITY, January 5 (RIA Novosti) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez could be sworn in at a later date if he fails to take the oath of office on January 10 at the National Assembly, Venezuela’s vice president said.
Nicolas Maduro said Chavez, as a re-elected president, can begin his new six-year term in office on Thursday and can attend a swearing-in ceremony in the Supreme Court if necessary at a date to be determined.
“The formality of his swearing-in can be resolved in the Supreme Court," Maduro said.
Chavez, 58, who has ruled Venezuela for 13 years, underwent four operations for cancer and four courses of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela within a year. He underwent his fourth surgery to remove cancerous tissue in Cuba on December 11.
According to the latest official reports, Chavez is being treated for ''respiratory deficiency'' after complications from a severe lung infection.
Venezuelan opposition leader Antonio Ledezma said earlier this week a special delegation should be sent to visit President Chavez in Cuba to get first-hand information of his health.
Venezuela’s Constitution requires that new presidential elections be held within 30 days, if Chavez is not fit enough to be sworn in. Government officials loyal to Chavez have said, however, the inauguration could take place at a later date.