Ally suggests Chavez's inauguration in Venezuela could be postponed if needed after surgery

The president of Venezuela's National Assembly has floated the idea of postponing President Hugo Chavez's Jan. 10 inauguration while he recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba.

Diosdado Cabello tells reporters that it's simply his personal opinion and not an official proposal. Cabello's remarks were published by the newspaper El Nacional on Wednesday.

The constitution says the president should be sworn in for a new term on Jan. 10. But Information Minister Ernesto Villegas last week said that if it's not possible for him to return in time, Venezuelans should understand it.

Chavez has not spoken publicly since his Dec. 11 surgery, and on Tuesday the government said he had a respiratory infection, though it was controlled.