CARACAS, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is back at the helm of the country and has begun giving instructions and leading his administration, an official said Sunday.
Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago and had a fourth round of surgery for cancer last week in Cuba's capital.
Minister of Science and Technology Jorge Arreaza, who is also Chavez's son-in-law, said from Havana that Chavez began Saturday "to communicate, instruct, govern and give instructions to be carried out over there (Venezuela)."
He was "closely following the elections" held on Sunday to elect new state governors and legislative councilors, Arreaza added.
"He has received the report on the situation in the country on such an important day. He has ratified the call for our country to vote," Arreaza said in a phone call to Communication and Information Minister Ernesto Villegas that was broadcast live on state-run VTV.
The broadcast was the sixth public report on the president's condition since he underwent the fourth round of surgery that was described as "complex and tough" by Vice President Nicholas Maduro.
But his recovery showed a "positive trend, with every passing hour," Arreaza said.
Chavez is due to begin his third six-year presidential term on Jan. 10. Before leaving for Cuba last week, he named Maduro to be his successor.