Supreme court backs Chavez

In Venezuela the ruling by the vice president and the government that cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez’s inauguration could be postponed has been backed by the supreme court and the military.

The court ruled the delay is constitutionally legitimate as the President’s terms of office have run uninterrupted.

“The President is currently functioning as the Republic’s president, head of state, head of the government, so at no point in time has he been absent. On the contrary, it does not even qualify as a temporary absence, nor permanent absence. On the contrary, it opens the opportunity for flexibility because the popular will of the people – the general will of the nation – is being respected,” said Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

Opposition leaders insisted the constitution was clear that Chavez must be sworn in before the National Assembly on January 10th. They have expressed outrage at the decision.

Prayers and vigils have been held across the country for the 58-year-old who has not been seen or heard from for almost a month. The government has called for a rally outside the presidential palace on Thursday, that is the day when the inauguration had been scheduled.