Hugo Chavez's ally re-elected as Venezuela's assembly chief

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 06, 2013 08:10 hrs

Venezuelan lawmakers have re-elected a staunch ally of President Hugo Chavez to head the National Assembly.

The National Assembly re-elected incumbent Diosdado Cabello, a leading ally of Chavez, who is in Cuba after cancer surgery.

Opposition leaders are calling for new elections if the president cannot be sworn in for his new term on Thursday, the BBC reports.

In such a situation, Cabello would become caretaker president before the outcome of the elections.

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

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

The government insists that Chavez will return and that his appointment can be postponed to a later date, the report said.

In the absence of Chavez, Cabello and Vice-President Nicolas Maduro will be effectively running the country, the report added. (ANI)