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CHÁVEZ'S HEALTH

The Constitution should govern if the president is not sworn in

"The Constitution provides for the full absence of the president-elect"

It is up to the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) to make a decision in case the president cannot be sworn in next January 10, the speaker of the Venezuelan Congress noted (Photo: G Bandres)
EL UNIVERSAL
Monday December 24, 2012  11:42 AM

Venezuela's opposition Unified Democratic Panel (MUD) underscored that the current Constitution provides for different scenarios concerning the day and time the Venezuelan president is expected to be sworn in. It is therefore the instrument to rely on in the event that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez does not attend the ceremony next January 10.

"The National Constitution is the way to follow and we must comply with it," the deputy secretary of the opposition Unified Democratic Panel (MUD), Ramón José Medina, answered when queried as to the remarks made by the National Assembly's Speaker Diosdado Cabello late on Saturday. Cabello has proposed putting off the date the president is supposed to be sworn in if the latter is unable to be present. Moreover, the Congress' Speaker said that it is up to the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) to rule on this matter.

"The more Diosdado Cabello points out he does not intend to topple (Executive Vice-President Nicolás) Maduro and the more he says that the president will attend the sworn-in ceremony on January 10, the more suspicious and uncertainty he raises," the MUD's leader explained. "The Constitution provides for the full absence of the president-elect and whenever the acting president is sick; this may imply the incapacity to continue holding office. Incapacity, in this case, shall be duly announced based on the opinion of a medical team. The Constitution also provides for the abandonment of the office deriving from full absence, which shall be announced by the National Assembly," he remarked.
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Is protest over?

That political protest in Venezuela has lost momentum seems pretty obvious: people are no longer building barricades to block off streets near Plaza Francia in Altamira (eastern Caracas), an anti-government stronghold; no new images have been shown of brave and dashing protesters with bandanna-covered faces clashing with the National Guard in San Cristóbal, in the western state of Táchira; and those who dreamed of a horde of "Gochos" (Tachirans) descending  in an avalanche to stir up revolt in Caracas have been left with no option but to wake up to reality.

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