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Unrest brews as swearing-in for Hugo Chavez delayed


The Supreme Court of Venezuela announced tonight that a government decision to postpone the inauguration of Hugo Chavez for a fourth term as President was legal and that his swearing-in could take place later.

The ruling was announced by Luisa Morales, the court’s president, in a press conference in Caracas. It was unlikely to satisfy leaders of the opposition, who have claimed that the ruling socialist party is manipulating the constitution to allow President Chavez to remain in power even though he has not been seen for a month since leaving Cuba for cancer surgery.

The government has not fully explained Mr Chavez’s condition, saying only that he is in a “delicate” state and is suffering from a respiratory infection. “It’s very evident that he isn’t governing, and what they want us to believe is that he’s governing, and they’re lying,” said Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, a leader of the opposition.

Tensions are likely to be high tomorrow with large pro-Chavez demonstrations expected in Caracas.