CARACAS – Venezuela’s militarized police, the Bolivarian National Guard, took over one chamber of the opposition-controlled Parliament on Wednesday in preparation for installing the Constituent Assembly that was elected on the weekend to rewrite the constitution, an official close to the legislature told EFE.
The Constituent Assembly, which was convened by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, is expected to be formalized on Friday at this place.
The GNB officers entered the elliptical hall during Wednesday night as part of security preparations for the imminent installation of the Constituent Assembly, according to the source.
Although Venezuela’s first lady Cilia Flores had confirmed that the Constituent Assembly, of which she is also a member, will be opened on Thursday, Maduro announced on Wednesday that it will be inaugurated on Friday and not on Thursday as previously planned.
Maduro explained that the reason behind this postponement was because some winners of the Sunday elections have not been fully proclaimed or assigned by the Electoral Power.
The opposition and numerous social activists who are against the Constituent Assembly saw this process as the president’s maneuver to “consolidate the dictatorship” in Venezuela.
The president of the National Assembly (parliament), Julio Borges, said that the GNB officers are wasting time, since, according to him, the Constituent Assembly is a fraud, and the opposition majority legislators will keep working in the parliament building.
The Constituent Assembly is a plenipotentiary body that will be installed in the seat of the Legislative Power, as the government had announced during the electoral campaign.
It will also have the power to eliminate parliamentary immunity and to purge state institutions critical of the government.
In addition, Maduro named on Wednesday former vice president Jorge Arreaza as the new foreign minister, replacing Samuel Moncada who, according to the president, had took charge of that office temporarily after his predecessor, Delcy Rodriguez, resigned to present herself as a candidate of the Constituent Assembly.
The elections for the Constituent Assembly members were held amid the ongoing political and social upheaval which were accompanied by a wave of demonstrations since April 1, causing at least 121 deaths so far.