Doctors have upgraded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's condition to favourable from stable after his latest cancer surgery in Cuba, according to the country's vice-president.
"This recovery process, nevertheless, will require a prudent period of time as a consequence of the complexity of the surgery performed"
- Ernesto Villegas,
"In the last few hours his process of recovery has evolved from stable to favourable, which allows us to continue saying that there is a growing recovery in Comandante Hugo Chavez's situation," Nicolas Maduro told a rally of Socialist Party supporters on Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said the 58-year-old president was recovering well two days after his operation, but that he had suffered "bleeding" that required "corrective measures".
"The patient is recovering progressively and favourably and his vital signs are normal," he said.
"This recovery process, nevertheless, will require a prudent period of time as a consequence of the complexity of the surgery performed,'' Villegas added.
Villegas expressed hope a day earlier about the president returning home for his January 10 swearing in for a new six year term, but said in a written message on a government website that if Chavez is not well enough by then "our people should be prepared to understand it''.
Chavez underwent his fourth cancer-related operation in Havana after announcing that tests had found the illness had come back despite previous operations, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
|Chavez, who was re-elected to a fourth term in October, is due to take office on January 10 [Reuters]
Chavez has kept secret some details about the cancer, including the type and location of the tumours that have been removed.
The Venezuelan constitution says presidents should be sworn in before the National Assembly, and if that is not possible then before the Supreme Court.
Former Supreme Court magistrate Roman Duque Corredor said a president cannot delegate the swearing-in to anyone else and cannot take the oath of office outside Venezuela.
A president could still be sworn in even if temporarily incapacitated, but would need to be conscious and in Venezuela, Duque told the AP news agency.
If a president-elect is declared incapacitated by legislators and is unable to be sworn in, the National Assembly president would temporarily take charge of the government and a new presidential vote must be held within 30 days.
Chavez said on Saturday that if an election had to be held, Maduro should be elected as president.