Hugo Chavez Will Miss Inauguration

Opposition wants Supreme Court to weigh in on legality

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 8, 2013 4:19 PM CST

(Newser) – In not-so-surprising news, the Venezuelan government said today that Hugo Chavez is too sick to attend his own inauguration on Thursday, reports the BBC. So now what? Chavez's camp says it's no big deal, arguing that the swearing-in is a mere formality that can be postponed until Chavez is well enough to travel. But the opposition thinks the constitution makes clear that if the incoming president can't be sworn in, the National Assembly leader must form a caretaker government and call new elections. It wants the nation's Supreme Court to settle the dispute.

"The Supreme Court has to take a position on what the text of the constitution says," says opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chavez in the fall election. "There is no monarchy here, and we aren't in Cuba." The National Assembly leader, for his part, says he has no intention of taking over on Thursday, reports CNN. "When (the opposition) talks about a power vacuum, they are proposing a coup."

A Venezuelan embassy worker holds a framed image of Venezuela's ailing President Hugo Chavez.
A Venezuelan embassy worker holds a framed image of Venezuela's ailing President Hugo Chavez.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
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