Jan 5 - Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro says the swearing in of ailing President Hugo Chavez can be delayed and the January 10 event postponed. Sunita Rappai reports.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez takes the oath of office at his first inauguration ceremony in 1999. But will the ailing Chavez, currently struggling to recover from cancer surgery in Cuba, make it for his next inauguration, scheduled for January 10? That's the question many Venezuelans ask as the country faces a wave of uncertainty about the future. The 58-year-old, said to be suffering from a severe respiratory infection, has not been seen in public or heard from for more than three weeks. In an interview on Friday, vice-president and Chavez' designated successor, Nicolas Maduro said postponement of the swearing-in ceremony would be no problem. Waving a copy of the constitution, Maduro said Article 231 established that Chavez could be sworn in by the Surpreme court at a later date. But opposition politicians like Aflonso Marquinez, say the uncertainty has led to a wave of economic and political instability in the country. Last year, the socialist president staged what appeared to be a remarkable comeback from cancer to win re-election to a new six-year term. But he returned to Cuba for more treatment within weeks of his win.