What Happens if Chavez Doesn't Make His Inauguration?

However, Caracas Chronicles suggests that some sectors within Chavismo might propose other candidates for the National Assembly job, including Blanca Eekhout, a congresswoman for Venezuela´s socialist party.

"If Cabello is dumped for someone else, this would point to Maduro wanting to consolidate power and not trust his candidacy to Cabello, who would control the purse-strings during the transition. It would suggest tensions within chavismo are high, " Caracas Chronicles writes.

However, a scenario where the president of the National Assembly takes the reins of the country may not happen so soon.

A clause in the Venezuelan constitution says that government leaders can ask for Chavez´s inauguration to be postponed for up to 90 days, with Vice President Maduro acting as the country´s president during that period of time. Government officials might choose to implement this clause as they wait for Chavez´s health situation to play out.

Another option is that Venezuela´s supreme court might choose to travel to Cuba to swear Chavez in as President of Venezuela as he lies on his hospital bed. Chavez would then immediately transfer presidential powers to Maduro, who has already been granted some economic powers, like permission to nationalize companies and make budget decisions.

This possibility however, has come under intense scrutiny from opposition lawyers who claim that it is unconstitutional to swear in a president in a foreign land.

Whatever happens, new elections would have to take place within 30 days, if Chavez dies. And as The Wall Street Journal points out, the winner of these elections will have to manage a country with a massive fiscal deficit, and will possibly have to undertake unpopular measures, such as devaluating the country´s currency so that the government can pay its debts, and enforce budget cuts on Chavez´s popular social programs.

This gloomy economic outlook leads some analysts to speculate that Diosdado Cabello will not be very interested in vying for the country´s presidency for now, leaving it up to Maduro, or the opposition´s presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, to undertake the unpopular job of fixing the country´s economy.

"The (presidency) is a poisoned chalice," Francisco Toro, a prominent Venezuelan blogger, said via a recent Gchat conversation.

"If I'm Cabello, I'm thanking my lucky stars Chávez didn't leave me in charge of passing the paquetazo (economic reform package) that's coming…His play comes in the second half of 2013 or in 2014, when Maduro (or Capriles) proves totally unable to deal with the wave of popular discontent that flows from emergency fiscal measures, and Cabello is in a prime position to slam him for betraying the legacy of the revolution and passes himself off as the real heir to the chavista legacy," Toro wrote onCaracas Chronicles.

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