Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Chavez body on permanent display

A man helps a girl to look into the glass-topped casket containing the remains of Hugo Chavez (AP/Miraflores Press Office)

Nicolas Maduro is to be sworn in as acting president of Venezuela after a state funeral is held for Hugo Chavez.

The speaker of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello made the announcement on national television on Thursday.

He said Mr Maduro, the vice president, would be sworn in at 7pm local time, in the same military academy complex where the president has been lying in state.

On Tuesday, after announcing Mr Chavez's death, the government said Mr Maduro would be both acting president and the presidential candidate of the governing party.

The opposition cried foul, as Venezuela's constitution specifies that upon Mr Chavez's death, Mr Cabello should have become interim president and elections for a new president called within 30 days.

A former Supreme Court judge, Blanca Rosa Marmo, said that Mr Maduro could not run for president as vice president. She said the government is not adhering to the constitution, and that it is Mr Cabello, not Mr Maduro, who should be sworn in.

Mr Cabello said Mr Maduro would be sworn in and call the elections.

Mr Maduro has said Mr Chavez's embalmed body will be permanently displayed in a glass casket so that "his people will always have him".

He said the remains will be put on permanent display at the Museum of the Revolution, close to the presidential palace where Mr Chavez ruled for 14 years.

Tens of thousands have already filed past his glass-topped casket at a military academy following a seven-hour procession on Tuesday which took his body from the hospital where he died.

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