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Venezuela Vice-President Maduro sworn in as acting president

March 09, 2013, 4:47 UTC+3

Maduro will also head the government temporarily and will become the supreme commander-in-chief of the Venezuelan Armed Forces

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CARACAS, March 9 (Itar-Tass) – Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in as acting president of the republic here on Friday evening. The inauguration ceremony was held at an extraordinary meeting of the National Assembly, Venezuela's parliament.

Speaker of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello read out Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which holds that in case of the death of the president the vice-president is to take this top post in the country temporarily. If the president dies in the first four years of his rule, the vice-president is to announce early presidential elections within 30 days. "Unfortunately, this happened so that our leader Hugo Chavez died," Cabello stated. Meanwhile, he recalled that last December Chavez asked his supporters to vote for Maduro in case of early presidential elections.

Last December, going on his last trip to Cuba, where Chavez expected the fourth surgery the last 18 months, he stated, "I should say something, let it sound straightforwardly, but I want to say this and should say this, as the Constitution stipulates, if something happens that will incapacitate me, Nicolas Maduro is to complete this presidential term." After this statement Chavez has made another important statement, "In this situation Nicolas Maduro should not only complete the presidential term, but, according to my deepest, absolute and unchangeable conviction, you should elect Nicolas Maduro as president in case of early presidential elections." Chavez stated that Maduro is "one of the most talented young leaders," who "came of a family of common people and can continue to rule with a firm hand the fates in his homeland, always staying near people and acting in their interests."

Winning at the October presidential elections, Hugo Chavez appointed Nicolas Maduro, 50, as vice-president, confirming the suppositions of many analysts that that the president considered the foreign minister, who occupied this post for many years, as the most reliable person among his close associates. Maduro was constantly accompanying Chavez at the most difficult moments in the life of the president, beginning from the summer of 2011, when the doctors found an oncologic disease in the president.

Maduro's career was really impressive from a bus driver, then he became a trade union leader, a deputy of the parliament and its speaker, after that he worked at the post of the foreign minister for six years and finally was appointed as the second top official after Chavez.

Maduro is married to Cilia Flores, who occupies the post of the republican general attorney (being a young lawyer she obtained the release of Chavez from the prison, where he served the sentence for staging a military coup). The spouses worked in the leadership of the Fifth Republic Movement, which brought Chavez to power in 1998. Both spouses became the deputies of the National Assembly in 2000, and then were re-elected in 2005. After Maduro left the post of the speaker to head the Foreign Ministry in August 2006, his wife was elected to this post and worked as the parliamentary speaker until January 2011. Meanwhile, both spouses hold high posts in the leadership of the ruling United Socialistic Party of Venezuela. 

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