Venezuela VP says Chavez swearing-in can be delayed

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s formal swearing-in for a new six-year term scheduled for Jan. 10 can be postponed if he is unable to attend due to his struggle to recover from cancer surgery, his vice-president said today.

In an interview with state TV, Nicolas Maduro said Chavez could be sworn in at a later date by the South American nation’s top court. “The formality of his swearing-in can be resolved in the Supreme Court,” he said.

Despite his serious medical condition, there was no reason to declare Chavez’s “permanent absence” from office, Maduro said. Such a declaration would trigger a new election within 30 days according to Venezuela’s charter.

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