Venezuela has officially postponed the swearing-in ceremony of Hugo Chavez, the country's president who has been battling to recover from an infection sustained during cancer surgery at a Cuban hospital.

The Venezuelan National Assembly has voted in favour of the postponement request made by the 58 year old leader, whose inauguration was due to take place on Thursday.

Leader of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, said the country's thoughts were with Mr Chavez, and that the country would continue to function as normal.

"We have a worrisome situation for all Venezuelans which is the health of President Chavez as a human being, a friend, as a comrade, as a head of state, but the country is in complete normality. All the institutions are function without a single problem."

Mr Chavez has been fighting severe lung infection after undergoing his fourth course of cancer surgery on 11 December, and has not been seen in public since then.

The decision has angered opposition groups who say such a delay is unconstitutional.

Leader of the opposition, Henirque Capriles, said the wrong decision by the Supreme Court on whether the postponement was unconstitutional could fuel "anarchy" in the country.

"A wrong decision by the Supreme Court, instead of bringing peace or calm, could fuel anarchy. That's why I say that this is a time in which the institutional, patriotic and democratic spirit that they Venezuelans have must prevail."

Despite Chavez's absence, several leaders from other Latin American countries are also likely to visit capital Caracas tomorrow in a show of solidarity with the socialist leader, who has ruled the oil-rich nation since 1999.

Written and presented by Alfred Joyner