CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela's Supreme Court says Vice President Nicolas Maduro became acting president the moment Hugo Chavez died, and can run for president.
The decision comes just hours before Maduro is to be sworn in as acting president before the National Assembly and it was issued during the state funeral for Chavez.
National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello had earlier announced the planned swearing-in, which the opposition says it is boycotting.
In a tweet, opposition leader Henrique Capriles called Friday's court ruling "a constitutional fraud."
The constitution specifies that the National Assembly speaker should have become interim president as Chavez was never able to assume office before he died Tuesday.
Chavez was re-elected on Oct. 7 but never sworn in. He anointed Maduro his successor.