Speculation over the health of Hugo Chavez continued after it was revealed that the Venezuela President will not be attending his swearing in ceremony this week.
Venezuela's government confirmed the reports that the leader's illness will keep him in a Cuban hospital past the key date.
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, in a letter to the National Assembly President, Diosdado Cabello, said that on the recommendation of Chavez's medical team, his recovery process 'should be extended beyond January 10' and for that reason he won't be able to attend Thursday's scheduled inauguration, the Independent reports.
The President, who won re-election three months ago, underwent his fourth cancer-related surgery in Cuba last month.
Maduro said Chavez was invoking a provision in the constitution allowing him to be sworn in before the Supreme Court at a 'later date'.
However, tensions between the government and opposition have been building over whether the ailing President's swearing-in can legally be postponed, the report said.