VP: Chávez Could Be Sworn In Later

    In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's Vice-President Nicolas Maduro delivers a speech at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. Maduro said on Venezuelan television Chavez was recovering in Cuba after an operation targeting an aggressive cancer that has defied multiple treatments. The operation was "complex" but was completed "correctly and successfully," he said. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office, Francisco Batista)

    Francisco Batista/Miraflores Press Office, via AP

    Don't count him out yet. Venezuela’s vice president, Nicolas Maduro, said in an interview Friday that if President Hugo Chavez isn't well enough to take the oath of office on Jan. 10, he can be sworn in later by the Supreme Court, according to the country’s constitution. Opposition leaders were hoping new elections would be called if Chavez could not take the office, but Maduro says since the president is already in power, he can remain and take the oath later. Under the Constitution, a new election will only be held if the president is unable to take the oath, or dies during his first four years in office. On Thursday, Venezuelan officials revealed that Chávez is suffering from a “severe” respiratory infection after undergoing his fourth surgery in the past year and a half.

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