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
One person has been confirmed dead and several are injured in the ongoing incident in Las Ramblas.
A number of fatalities and several injuries have been reported after a van has crashed into people in the Ramblas area of Barcelona.
John Underhill said geological changes 55 million years ago mean the UK's geology is unsuitable for shale oil and gas production.