Chavez can be sworn in by Supreme Court: Venezuela VP

Even if President Hugo Chavez is too ill to attend his inauguration, the Venezuelan government has said that he can begin his new six-year term in office.

According to BBC News, Vice-President Nicolas Maduro said that the Supreme Court could always swear Chavez in at a later date, dismissing calls by the opposition for new elections.

Currently Chavez is in Cuba where he is recovering from surgery to treat cancer. He has not been viewed by the public since the operation, which occurred three weeks ago. Chavez is said to be fighting a severe respiratory infection post surgery.

The head of the main opposition coalition, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, said the government "doesn't want to admit that the president is absent," BBC reported.

"The official version of what is happening is unsustainable," he said to reporters.

According to the Associated Press, opposition leaders say that if Chavez doesn't make it back to Caracas, the president of the National Assembly should take over as interim president. The congress, which is controlled by a pro-Chavez majority, will convene today to choose its president and other legislative leaders.

The BBC reported that National Assembly Head Diosdado Cabello visited Chavez in Cuba earlier in the week. Cabello is expected to be reelected as head of the National Assembly.

"If the opposition thinks it will find a space in the National Assembly to conspire against the people, it's mistaken once again," Cabello said on Twitter. "It will be defeated."