Caracas: Worsening health condition of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has prevented him to return home in time for his inauguration, which will now be delayed.
According to an announcement from thye oil-rich nation, Chavez will now take the oath of office at a later date before the Supreme Court.
The announcement confirmed that Chavez, 58, is too sick to return home in time for the January 10 inauguration.
The announcement was made in form of a letter in the National Assembly from Vice President Nicolas Maduro.
"According to the recommendation of the medical team... the process of post-operative recover must extend beyond January 10 of the current year, reason for which he he will not be able to appear on that date before the National Assembly," said the letter, read out by National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello.
The letter went on to say that, in keeping with article 231 of the constitution, Chavez would take the oath before the Supreme Court at a later day.
The long-expected decision came amid a storm of controversy over whether his current term can be extended beyond January 10, and calls by the opposition for the Supreme Court to intervene.
The government says the swearing-in is a mere formality that can be delayed, but the opposition says he must at least be declared temporarily incapacitated and replaced on an interim basis by the National Assembly speaker.
The charter also says new elections must be held within 30 days if the president-elect or president dies or is permanently incapacitated either before he takes office or in the first four years of his six-year term.
The 58-year-old Venezuelan president has been undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba for the past month, most recently battling respiratory complications.