The Constitution should govern if the president is not sworn in
"The Constitution provides for the full absence of the president-elect"
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.
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.