Venezuela: Constituent Assembly gets congress’ powers

MEXICO CITY

A Constituent Assembly controlled by supporters of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro unanimously approved a decree Friday that allows it to pass laws without consulting the opposition-controlled Congress.

The assembly will "assume the powers to legislate on matters directly aimed at ensuring the preservation of peace, security, sovereignty, the socioeconomic and financial system, state property and the preeminence of the rights of Venezuelans, according to a decree adopted by the controversial group that has the power to rewrite the Constitution and dissolve institutions.

"We are not going to allow more deviations of power, Assembly president Delcy Rodriguez said before reading the decree in a session to which lawmakers were invited.

As anticipated, however, opposition congressmen announced just minutes before the session they would not attend it.

"We will not appear before the fraudulent Constituent Assembly, they said in an open letter published in local media. We are submitted to the validity of the 1999 Constitution.

At the end of March, the Supreme Court � accused by the opposition of serving the government -- assumed functions of the Parliament, a decision that caused wide international rejection

The Supreme Court reversed its decision within 48 hours, although the opposition called massive protests that have left at least 120 dead since April.

The Constituent Assembly was launched Aug. 4 amid fraud accusations and international criticism.

At least 40 countries and international organizations, including the U.S. and the EU, demanded Maduro not launch the Constituent Assembly and threatened not to recognize the new body.

Source: Anadolu Agency