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Venezuelan VP: Ailing Hugo Chavez could be sworn in later before Supreme Court

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CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's vice president said Friday that President Hugo Chavez could be sworn in by the Supreme Court later on if he's not able to take the oath of office next week before lawmakers because of his struggle with cancer.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro made the comment in a televised interview on Friday night, dismissing the argument by some opposition leaders that new elections must be called if Chavez doesn't take office as scheduled on Thursday. His stance appeared likely to generate friction between the government and opposition over the legality of putting off the swearing-in, which the constitution says should occur on Thursday before the National Assembly.As for the opposition, Maduro said, "they should respect our constitution." The vice president held up a small copy of the constitution and read aloud passages relating to such procedures.

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