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Breathing room for Chavez after high court ruling.

Breathing room for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. On Wednesday Venezuela's top court endorsed the postponement of his inauguration. It ruled that the cancer-stricken president would continue in their roles. Critics had argued the 58-year-old's absence from his own swearing-in on Jan. 10 meant a caretaker president must be appointed. Now the court is saying they cannot say when, how or where the president will be sworn in. Chavez has not been seen in public nor heard from in almost a month following surgery in Cuba. The decision opens the door in theory for Chavez to remain in office for weeks or months from a Cuban hospital bed - though there is no evidence he is even conscious. It leaves the South American country in the hands of Vice President Nicolas Maduro, as de facto leader of the government. His resignation or death would transform politics in the OPEC nation, where he is revered by poor supporters thankful for his social largesse, but denounced by opponents as a dictator.

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