Saturday, January 5th 2013 - 05:35 UTC

Maduro practically admits Chavez won’t be in Caracas for the January 10 oath

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez' formal swearing-in for a new six-year term scheduled for January 10 can be postponed if he is unable to attend due to his struggle to recover from cancer surgery, his vice-president said on Friday.

The Vice-president making the announcement from Havana

Nicolás Maduro's comments were the clearest yet that Venezuela's government is preparing to delay the swearing-in while avoiding naming a replacement or calling a new election.

The political opposition argues that Chávez' presence on that date in Cuba - where there are rumours he may be dying from complications after his latest operation on December 11, is tantamount to the president's stepping down.

But Maduro, waving a copy of the constitution during an interview with state TV, said there was no problem if Chávez was sworn in at a later date by the 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 Chávez's “complete absence” from office, Maduro said. Such a declaration would trigger a new election within 30 days, according to Venezuela's charter.

Chávez was conscious and fighting to recover, said Maduro, who travelled to Havana to see his boss this week. “We will have the Commander well again,” he said.

Maduro, whom Chávez named as his preferred successor should he be forced to leave office, said Venezuela's opposition had no right to go against the will of the people as expressed in the Oct. 7 vote to re-elect the president.

”The president right now is president ... Don't mess with the people. Respect democracy”.

6 comments Feed

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1 Anglotino (#) Jan 05th, 2013 - 06:58 am Report abuse
Venezuela is heading into constitutional limbo from January 10th. Maduro might talk about respecting the will of the people and democracy, however that is not permission to ignore the letter and spirit of the constitution.

Either way it can only be dragged out for so long. Chavez will either recover or he won't. The fact he cannot be sworn in shows that he is indeed extremely unwell and not just recovering from some minor complication.

Maduro might believe that Chavez can be sworn in at a later date but how much later? The constitution does not say but you would have to think that 6 years might be a little too late. Opinion currently says that 180 days and hence 9th July seems to be the longest the constitution can be stretched out to cover this situation.
2 GeoffWard2 (#) Jan 05th, 2013 - 02:01 pm Report abuse
Flying off the constitutional committee to Cuba to swear in a man on his death-bed is stretching the constitution and good sense.
3 reality check (#) Jan 05th, 2013 - 02:09 pm Report abuse
Am I wrong, but don't most constitutions require that a candidate for the highest office, be fit enough to serve?

Why would you allow someone to run for that office? who is likely to secumb to a fatal disease, shortly after winning office.

That's not being cruel, it's just common sense to me.
4 ChrisR (#) Jan 05th, 2013 - 07:24 pm Report abuse
I still remain convinced that Dead Man Not Walking will soon be Dead Man. It seems likely only a short time is left to him before he is chucked on the bonfire, or worm food.

That will start other problems for his damned country with all the best oil resources in the world and huge debt.

So similar to the Shangri-La of the south run by his bitch TMBOA.

Let's hope they make a pact and croak together: imagine the Andrew Lloyd Webber hit musical if that happened.

5 Brasileiro (#) Jan 05th, 2013 - 09:52 pm
Comment removed by the editor.
6 Anglotino (#) Jan 05th, 2013 - 10:04 pm Report abuse
Reality Check

The problem is that the Venezuelan constitution is so new, dating only from 1999. Interesting to note that it is the 26th Venezuelan constitution and replaced the longest serving one of 38 years. Because of its youth, the text can be ambiguous as it has never been challenged or interpreted.

I will run out of room if I try to paste the passages, but use the link below to read Articles 233 and 234.

It all depends on what is meant by “temporarily unavailable”, “permanently unavailable” and “permanent mental or physical disability” (yes I know there are plenty of examples of Chavez's mental disabilities up to this point).

Considering the destruction of civil society by Chavez and the lack of independence shown by the judiciary, I would assume that it would be only his death that will cause an election. The secrecy surrounding his current condition is so the terms being used by anyone are limited to “temporarily unavailable”.

Even then, I don't think his death will be reported instantly. He will continue to have “phone calls” and “meet” with people long after he dies to ensure the next election is winnable. Also more than likely he will die on a specific date that has some revolutionary meaning. 15th February 1819 Simón Bolívar became president of Venezuela and on 2nd February 1999 Chavez was first elected president.

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