The hand of a man is seen next to a painting of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas.

Caracas - The head of Venezuela's Supreme Court said on Wednesday the postponement of Hugo Chavez's planned January 10 inauguration for a new presidential term was constitutionally legitimate.

Luisa Morales, the court's president, gave the judgment at a news conference, saying no new swearing-in was necessary and Chavez remained Venezuela's president, with Nicolas Maduro also continuing in his role as vice-president.

Chavez's recovery after cancer surgery in Cuba means he will not be able to attend the scheduled Jan. 10 ceremony. Chavez, 58, has not been seen nor heard from him almost a month. - Reuters