Venezuela: the Parliament is made to confiscate his powers

Venezuela: the Parliament is made to confiscate his powers

In practice, the move does little to change the existing situation. The Venezuelan congress, which has been filled with opposition politicians since their big wins in 2015 elections, has always been a thorn in the side of a president who has been tightening his hold on power.

But the decision suggests the constituent assembly, elected in July in a vote boycotted by the opposition, is more interested in limiting the opposition's influence than carrying out its official task of rewriting the nation's constitution.

The National Constituent Assembly has usurped the legislative power and popular sovereignty of the country's congress, and because it is considered an instrument of Maduro's regime, the move should be considered a coup that consolidates power for his dictatorship.

"No, the lazy must work". “Their backs are to the people, ” claimed Rodriguez when Borges, Guevara and other opposition lawmakers failed to show up at her invitation.

In an open letter, the leadership of the Parliament had mentioned earlier that she did not recognize "the national constituent Assembly fraudulent, its mandates, and all acts emanating from it".

The assembly was scheduled later on Wednesday to empanel a "Truth Commission" headed by Maduro loyalist and former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, to prosecute those responsible for violent anti-government protests.

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"The constituent assembly is here to impose order".

President Nicolas Maduro has faced a cacophony of worldwide criticism - from the United Nations to Pope Francis - since he installed the 545-member assembly stacked with Socialist Party allies earlier this month.

Padrino objected to Pence's description of Venezuela as a "failed state" that has strayed from democratic principles, pointing to the fact that opposition political parties have gone to the offices of the National Electoral Council to register their candidates for upcoming regional elections in October.

For now, though, the opposition faces diminishing options in its struggle against Maduro, who - after months of protests, the deaths of more than 120 people in the unrest, and thousands more arbitrary detentions - now appears to have a stronger hold on power than ever before.

The constituent Assembly, who sits within the palace of the legislature, should formally draw up a new Constitution to replace that of 1999, but she was endowed with very broad powers and is expected to serve two years, thus beyond the mandate of the president Maduro, which ends in January 2019.

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