Venezuela’s opposition has issued a warning about a “threat to democracy” if President Hugo Chavez is not sworn in as scheduled on Thursday.
In a letter to the Organisation of American States (OAS), the coalition said his absence would be “a serious constitutional violation”.
It is unlikely that Mr Chavez, who is in Cuba after a cancer surgery, will be able to attend his inauguration.
Government officials say it is only a formality, as he is already incumbent.
The letter warns the OAS that the situation in Venezuela could represent a violation of the body’s charter.
The opposition’s move came as President Chavez’ supporters prepare for a major rally to mark the start of his fourth term.
On Monday, the Venezuelan Catholic Church had also said it would be a morally unacceptable violation of the constitution to allow Mr Chavez to remain in power after missing his inauguration.
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