Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez swearing-in delayed

The Venezuelan National Assembly has approved a request by President Hugo Chavez to postpone his inauguration for a new term in office, which was scheduled for Thursday, the BBC reports.

Mr Chavez is in hospital in Cuba after cancer surgery, and has suffered complications caused by a lung infection.

Legislators voted to give Mr Chavez as much time as he needs to recover. He has not been seen in public since his last operation a month ago.

Earlier, Vice-President Nicolas Maduro had confirmed that Mr Chavez would be unable to attend the ceremony.

Venezuela’s opposition has called for the Supreme Court to rule on what should be done if Mr Chavez is absent.

Its leader, Henrique Capriles, says Mr Chavez should be declared absent, with the speaker of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, taking over as interim president.

President Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, was re-elected in October for a fourth term. The government insists that the inauguration is a mere formality for an incumbent leader.

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