Chavez to Stay in Power Even Without Taking Oath, sez Maduro
Ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will remain in power even if he fails to attend a ceremony next week in which hes scheduled to be sworn in for another term, his Vice President Nicolas Maduro said.
Opponents of the
communist socialist president, who is recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba, are distorting the constitution by saying that Chavez must show up for the Jan. 10 swearing-in ceremony or be declared ineligible to govern, Maduro said last night. The nations charter is flexible,
and if needed the Supreme Court can set the date, manner and location Chavez will be sworn in for the third, six-year term he won in October by a landslide, he said.
|It's a living constitution...|
Chavez on that day remains in power and will be sworn in whenever possible, Maduro said in an hour-long interview broadcast on state television, warning the opposition against trying to carry out a coup by interpreting to its advantage the charters provisions for a presidential succession. The constitution speaks for itself.
The comments by Maduro set the stage for a legal dispute with the opposition and signal that the ailing leaders allies are unlikely to push him out of office even as calls for a snap election grow louder.
It seems like the only way Chavez will step down is if he dies or he himself gives up power, said Bret Rosen, who travels frequently to Venezuela as a Latin America strategist at Standard Chartered Plc in New York.
Venezuelan bonds have rallied over the past year, with yields on the state oil company falling to a record low this week, on speculation that Chavez wont complete another term. Such a move would pave the way for an end of nationalizations, currency controls and other policies blamed for capital flight, food shortages and inflation of more than 18 percent.
Maduro, the presidents preferred successor, accused the opposition of carrying out a dirty war against Venezuelas democracy by spreading rumors through fake Twitter accounts opened in officials names and sending letters to foreign diplomats warning of a government-staged coup if Chavez fails to return next week. Such actions could stir violence, he warned.
|They're trying to tell you something, people...|
Theyre playing with fire, Maduro said, citing the risk of a repeat of street riots in Bogota that left hundreds dead following the murder in 1948 of Colombian presidential candidate Jorge Gaitan, a politician popular with that nations poor.
|Unfortunately the opposition there is about as clueless as the Pubs here, so they aren't smart enough to open fake Twitter accounts.|
Opposition leaders say that if the 58-year-old Chavez doesnt attend next weeks inauguration, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, in compliance with the constitution, must decide whether his absence is a temporary or permanent one. The latter scenario would trigger an election within 30 days, but in either case Cabello must take over the presidency on a caretaker basis, they say.
|And if the people don't riot, Maduro will goad them...|
Cabello was elected to remain as president of the assembly today.
I swear to do all I need to do to fulfill the word of this revolutions leader, Cabello said in a nationally televised address after the vote. Chavez was re-elected and will continue being president beyond Jan. 10.
Ramon Jose Medina, deputy head of the opposition alliance, said Jan. 3 that Chavezs failure to swear in on Jan. 10, without Cabello taking over the reins of the government, would constitute a government-staged coup.
|Unless he dies before then, in which case they'll get a glass case in which he'll be stuffed and mounted, like Lenin...|
Maduro last night said such an interpretation is false, echoing comments last month by Cabello -- his biggest rival in the Chavista camp -- that the opposition should forget about January 10. None of the conditions for the presidents absolute absence have been met, so long as Chavez remains alive, holds on to power and isnt certified unfit to carry out his duties by a commission of medical experts working under lawmakers supervision, Maduro said.
If the status quo continues January 10th youre moving in the direction of a constitutional crisis, said Rosen.
Posted by: Steve White 2013-01-06