But don’t get too excited. Hugo Chavez isn’t relinquishing power. The government is just postponing the swearing in ceremony.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won’t be sworn in for another term on Jan. 10, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello informed lawmakers.
Cabello, reading a letter to lawmakers by Vice President Nicolas Maduro, said Chavez will be sworn in by the Supreme Court at a later date as he requires more time to recover from cancer surgery in Cuba.
The news suggests the government will try and use Article 234 of the Venezuelan constitution as a delay tactic. According to the article:
When the president is temporarily unable to serve, they shall be replaced by the executive vice-president for a period of up to 90 days, which may be extended by resolution of the National Assembly for an additional 90 days.
But (and this is a big BUT), the problem with the Article 234 defense is that it doesn’t actually say what happens in the case of a president elect. Chavez’s term technically runs out on Jan 9th. So can Article 234 really be applied for someone in between mandates?
It’s all very murky indeed.
Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski warned on Tuesday that the country runs the risk of plunging into “anarchy” if Chavez fails to be sworn in this week for another term.
Will the opposition take to the street? Or will the country just continue to muddle on? Watch this space.
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