CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan lawmakers will meet Saturday in a session that could shed light on what steps may be taken if President Hugo Chavez is too sick to be sworn in for a new term next week.
Legislators will choose a president, two vice presidents and other leaders of the National Assembly, which is controlled by a pro-Chavez majority. Whoever is elected National Assembly president could end up being the interim president of Venezuela if Chavez is unable to be inaugurated on Thursday as scheduled.
Brewing disagreements over how to handle a possible transition of power also could be aired at the session, coming just five days before the scheduled inauguration day specified in the constitution. Chavez's health crisis has raised contentious questions ahead of the swearing-in, including whether the inauguration could legally be postponed.
The government revealed this week that Chavez is fighting a severe lung infection and receiving treatment for "respiratory deficiency" more than three weeks after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba. The announcement suggests a deepening crisis for the 58-year-old president and has fed speculation that he likely is not well enough to travel to Caracas for the inauguration.
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello called on Chavez backers to show up for the legislative session and demonstrate their support.
"This National Assembly is revolutionary and socialist. It will remain beside the people and our commander," Cabello said in one of several messages on his Twitter account.
- Fans go wild over 88-second 'Star Wars'...
- In Ferguson, mundane choices led to tragedy
- Evangelicals with gay children challenging...
- 10 Things to See: A week of top AP photos
- New York boys buried in snow pile for 7 hours...
- BLACK FRIDAY LIVE: Protests, beer and prison
- Why Utahns are some of the biggest spenders,...
- Official Christmas tree arrives at White House
- As Ferguson verdict is read, protesters... 71
- Grand jury won't indict Ferguson cop in... 30
- Evangelicals with gay children... 28
- Ferguson businesses torched in... 17
- Under pressure, Hagel steps down as... 15
- Obama heads to Chicago to pitch... 13
- Why Utahns are some of the biggest... 12
- Attorney General Eric Holder:... 11