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Politics

Hugo Chavez to miss his inauguration ceremony

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, will miss his inauguration ceremony on Thursday. The announcement comes after calls from the opposition for the Supreme Court to make a decision on what this means for the country.

Venezuela's vice president, Nicolas Maduro, on Tuesday told his country's National Assembly that President Hugo Chavez, who is fighting off a post-cancer operation lung infection, would not be able to attend his inauguration on Thursday.

"According to the recommendation of the medical team... the process of post-operative recovery must extend beyond January 10 of the current year, reason for which he will not be able to appear on that date before the National Assembly," said a letter from Maduro to the National Assembly, which was read out by speaker Diosdado Cabello.

The letter added that, in line with article 231 of the constitution, Chavez would take his oath on another occasion before the country’s Supreme Court.

The announcement comes after opposition leader Henrique Capriles urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to rule on whether cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez's re-inauguration can be postponed.

"I do not know what the judges of the Supreme Court are waiting for. Right now in Venezuela, without any doubt whatsoever, a constitutional conflict has arisen," Capriles said.

If Chavez were to step aside or die, the constitution states that new elections would be held within 30 days.

The 58-year-old socialist leader has not been seen in public for more than three weeks. He is in a delicate condition in Cuba after his fourth operation in 18 months for an undisclosed form of cancer in his pelvic area.

sej/msh (AP, AFP)