High court OKs Chavez inauguration delay

Jan. 9, 2013 at 6:07 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Venezuela's top jurist Wednesday said President Hugo Chavez doesn't have to be inaugurated Thursday for him to remain in office.

Justice Luisa Estella Morales, president of the Supreme Court, cited "administrative continuity" in determining while Thursday marks the start of a term in office, a new inauguration is not essential, El Universal reported.

Since Chavez is already in office, there is "no interruption in the performance of duties," Morales said, noting "although required, the oath [is] not a condition for breaking with administrative continuity."

Morales said the inauguration is necessary, "but at this time we cannot say when, how and where" it will happen.

Chavez is unable to be in Venezuela this week because he is in Cuba recovering from cancer surgery. It is unclear when he might return to Caracas to resume his duties. His vice president, Nicolas Maduro, is handling his responsibilities in the interim.

Morales also said the Supreme Court has not considered convening a medical board to deal with Chavez's situation because the president "made clear the reasons for his departure."

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