Venezuela National Assembly re-elects Chavez ally

  • Venezuela's National Assembly met on Saturday to elect a possible stand-in for President Hugo Chavez, who is in Cuba recovering from cancer surgery.

    The assembly re-elected the incumbent Diosdado Cabello, an ally of Chavez.

    Opposition leaders have called for new elections if Chavez cannot be sworn in for his new term on Thursday, meaning Cabello would become caretaker president until the outcome of the vote.

    However, Vice-President Nicolas Maduro has dismissed the opposition's calls, stating the Supreme Court can swear in Chavez at a later date.

    Cabello was expected to be re-elected in the National Assembly, which is dominated by Chavez's governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

    Chavez, 58, is currently in Cuba recovering from complications due to a severe lung infection developed after surgery.

    He had his fourth operation to treat cancer in Cuba on December 11 and later developed a respiratory infection.

    Chavez has not been seen in public since having surgery in Havana, spurring speculation over his condition.