But Attorney General Cilia Flores on Sunday rebuffed that position by opposition leaders, saying in a televised interview that if Chavez "can't be sworn in before the National Assembly, he will do it before the Supreme Court." Flores, who recently was among officials who met with Chavez in Cuba, backed arguments by Maduro and Cabello that the date specified in the constitution for a president to take office is not a firm deadline in this case.
"Here we have a president who was re-elected, who is in possession of his post," Flores said in comments reported by the state-run Venezuelan News Agency. "The president even has his presidential sash already."
Earlier Sunday, Venezuelan athletes who support Chavez prayed for the socialist leader's recovery.
Formula One driver Pastor Maldonado, IndyCar Series driver Ernesto Jose Viso and others attended a Mass at a church in downtown Caracas. Athletes wearing jackets with the colors and stars of Venezuela's flag stood before an altar, solemnly reciting prayers.
Maldonado, who is sponsored by Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, expressed confidence that Chavez would soon recover and return to Venezuela.
The F1 driver voiced hope that "very soon he's here with all of us."
Viso said he and millions of other Chavez supporters have "much faith that he's recovering."
"We wish him the best," Viso said.
Christopher Toothaker on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ctoothaker