Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's formal swearing-in for a new six-year term scheduled for 10 January can be postponed if he is unable to attend due to his struggle to recover from cancer surgery, his vice president said.
Nicolas Maduro's comments were the clearest yet that Venezuela's government is preparing to delay the swearing-in while avoiding naming a replacement or calling a new election in the South American OPEC nation.
But Mr Maduro, waving a copy of the constitution during an interview with state TV, said there was no problem if Chavez was sworn in at a later date by the nation's top court.
"The formality of his swearing-in can be resolved in the Supreme Court," he said.
More top news
Andy Murray will play world number one Novak Djokovic in Sunday's Australian Open final after the Serbian beat Stan Wawrinka in five sets
Film fans are set for a 4D cinema experience that lets audiences experience scents, wind, fog, lightening and bubbles in motion seats.
British expats stockpiling chocolate after US confectioner Hershey's reaches deal to stop the sale of British made Cadbury's in America.