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Chavez 'stable' as tension mounts over inauguration

PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL A government minister takes to television in Venezuela, insisting that President Hugo Chavez is in a stable condition in hospital. Chavez has not been seen for almost a month as he recovers from complications after cancer surgery in Cuba. But with his inauguration due on Thursday (January 10), his absence has triggered a political backlash. The opposition says it shows Chavez is no longer fit to govern, and that new elections should be held. SOUNDBITE: MIRANDA GOVERNOR AND OPPOSITION LEADER, HENRIQUE CAPRILES, SAYING (Spanish): "What do we want? We want the President of the Republic to assume office and for things to follow the Constitution. But if this swearing-in cannot occur on January 10, the Constitution clearly establishes the procedure. And it has nothing to do with interpretations of who likes and who dislikes it. It's clear what the Constitution says." Chavez's allies say the inauguration is a "formality", and that the president can be sworn in on a later date. But as tension grows over the constitution, the future of Venezuela's leadership remains uncertain.

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