Venezuela's VP confident that court will rule on Chávez's absence
The Venezuelan Constitution provides that elected presidential candidates shall take office on January 10
Venezuela's ruling party Deputy Diosdado Cabello suggested on Tuesday, that in the event President Hugo Chávez is unable to take office for the next presidential term on January 10, the inauguration may then be postponed. The proposal was supported on Wednesday by Executive Vice-President Nicolás Maduro as he informed, during a meeting held with elected ruling party governors, that the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) may well dispel doubts on this matter.
Article 231 of the Venezuelan Constitution dictates that the elected presidential candidate shall take office in his first term in office on January 10. "If for any supervening reason, the person elected President of the Republic cannot be sworn in before the National Assembly, he shall take the oath of office before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice."
The vice-president stated, "(In any event) we always have a constitutional advantage. Any matter that needs to be settled may well be mainstreamed to the prestigious and important Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice. It has shown outstanding capacity to interpret any provision set forth in the Constitution. It has always been so. As you well know, the Constitutional Chamber is Venezuela's source of justice and morality. We are positive that it is ready to discuss any issue."
With respect to ruling party candidates elected for state governor on Sunday, the vice-president said, "We have pledged to be loyal to Chávez and the people, and to build a solid brotherhood to face future events."
Translated by Jhean Cabrera
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.