Venezuelan vice president Nicolas Maduro will take over as interim president and an election will be called within 30 days, the country's foreign minister said on Tuesday, after Hugo Chavez's death.
"It is the mandate that comandante President Hugo Chavez gave us," foreign minister Elias Jaua told state news channel Telesur, explaining that there was an "absolute absence" over the constitutional procedure to replace Chavez.
Jaua did not specify if the election would be held within 30 days or if the date would be chosen during that period.
The minister's announcement that Maduro will take the helm in the interim also appears to contradict the constitution, which says that the National Assembly president takes over the presidency if the president dies.
Fernando Soto Rojas, a lawmaker from Chavez's socialist PSUV party, had said earlier that National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello must take the helm.
"There is no power vacuum. The National Assembly with its president Diosdado Cabello must take power and later we will go without a doubt to an electoral process," Soto Rojas told state-run television, adding that he backed Maduro as an election candidate.