By Samuel Burke, CNN
The Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that President Hugo Chavez’ inauguration can be postponed.
The court also ruled that in the meantime, Chavez' handpicked vice president, Nicolás Maduro, should run the government.
Opposition lawmaker Maria Corina Machado told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that she believes the Venezuelan constitution clearly states that the National Assembly president, Diosdado Cabello, should run a caretaker government before new elections are called.
“Why violate the constitution at this point?” Machado asked rhetorically, pointing out that this move would keep power with the “Chavistas,” not transfer control to any opposition party.
Cecilia Sosa, a former president of the Supreme Court told CNN that she believes the Supreme Court's decision is unconstitutional, and also agreed that the constitution says National Assembly President Cabello should serve as caretaker president, not Vice President Maduro.
Machado said that choosing the vice president over the National Assembly President exposes serious internal divisions and mistrust among the “Chavista” groups.
“This is a decision that was clearly taken in Cuba by the Cubans,” Machado alleged to Amanpour.
Though before leaving for his latest treatment in Cuba, Chavez said on December 8 that Vice President Maduro would finish out any period of vacancy if he could not complete his current term. Chavez also said if new elections became necessary that he hoped Venezuelans would elect Nicolás Maduro as president.
“The truth is, in Venezuela we do not know who is running the presidency, who is in charge of the government at his point,” Machado said. She joined a group of lawmakers that believe Venezuela should send a medical team to Cuba, to know if Chavez is capable of resuming his responsibilities.
Machado said if at some point there is a new election, she expects the opposition to be united. Opposition groups were able to rally behind Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski in the presidential elections last year. Capriles came closer to defeating Chavez than any of the previous contenders, 55% to 44%.