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
Boxer Amir Khan sparked laughter in Las Vegas when he aimed a verbal jab at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The chart-topping NHS Choir who beat Justin Bieber to number one have signed a Hollywood film deal to tell their success story.
Janet Jackson is expecting her first child at the age of 49, according to reports.