CARACAS, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- President Hugo Chavez will miss his scheduled swearing-in ceremony on Thursday for health reasons, the Venezuelan government confirmed on Tuesday as the opposition rejects the move as a violation of the Constitution.
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello read a letter from Vice President Nicolas Maduro during a regular session, informing the parliament that Chavez would be unable to take the oath of office Thursday.
"The president has requested to inform that according to the recommendations of his medical team ... the post-operative process of recuperation must extend beyond Jan. 10," Maduro said in the letter.
According to the letter, the government will "invoke Article 231 of the Constitution, with the aim of formalizing at a later date the corresponding swearing in before the Supreme Court of Justice."
The Venezuelan opposition meanwhile alerted the Organization of American States (OAS) to what they consider to be a "violation of the constitutional order" if Chavez misses the scheduled inauguration and an interim leader is not designated.
In a letter to the OAS, the executive secretary of the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, rejected the ruling party's move to simply postpone the date of the swearing-in.
"If the swearing-in ceremony isn't performed on Jan. 10 and the constitutional dispositions on the temporary absence of the president are not put in place, then a serious violation of the constitutional order will be carried out in Venezuela," Aveledo said.
However, according to Chavez's top aides, entrusting the presidency to the parliament's president is established in the Constitution, except in the president's "absolute absence" due to death, ouster or permanent physical or mental incapacity, none of which applies in this case.
The government has called for a mass rally Thursday to support Chavez and invited friendly regional leaders. The presidents of Bolivia and Uruguay have so far indicated that they will be in Venezuela's capital Caracas for the event, while Haiti's leader said he was considering attending.
The U.S. government also weighed in on the matter on Tuesday, urging Venezuelans to peacefully resolve the uncertainty arising from the change in traditional proceedings.
"This discussion needs to happen peacefully," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a press briefing, adding that "they need to do it in a manner that includes all the voices in the discussion."
Reelected to his third six-year term last October, Chavez was expected to be sworn in at the National Assembly Thursday, but remains hospitalized in Cuba's Havana after undergoing a cancer surgery for the fourth time in December.
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