VP Nicolás Maduro: Chávez's swearing-in can be adjourned
Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolás Maduro said President Hugo Chávez's new term in office begins next January 10, and if he cannot appear at the National Assembly for his swearing-in ceremony, he could be sworn in before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) later
"None of the conditions set out in Article 233 applies right now. There is no complete absence," Maduro said in an interview with state-run television network Venezolana de Television (VTV).
Maduro said Chávez's new term in office will start on January 10 and if he cannot be sworn in before the National Assembly on that date, he can be sworn in before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) later.
"The Constitution provides that he (Chávez) (...) has to be sworn in before the National Assembly on January 10, but precisely on January 10 the new constitutional term begins and he continues in office. The moment when he will be able to take an oath before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice will be established later," added Maduro.
According to the vice-president, Article 231 of the Constitution provides for "a dynamic flexibility."
Maduro reiterated that Venezuelan people have a responsibility to advocate the ideas and principles enshrined in the Constitution.
"The path of our fatherland was set by our people in the Constitution of 1999," he said in an interview with journalist and Minister of Communication and Information Ernesto Villegas.
He said the right-wing parties intend to use President Hugo Chavez's health problems in order to misconstrue the Constitution.
Let us start by looking at what appears to be a discrepancy in figures. According to official statistics, the number of Venezuelans contracting HIV/AIDS every year amounts to 11,699; and as per Ministry of Health figures 43,805 people receive free antiretroviral medications. But Jhonatan Rodríguez, the president of ONG StopVIH, claims that these figures date back to March 2012, and that they are quoted as current figures.