CARACAS – Venezuela’s National Assembly (AN) legislature ratified on Saturday its validity in its first session since the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), installed by the ruling party, took over its legislative functions, and in so doing sparked international outrage.
The AN agreed to reject “the usurping of popular sovereignty” and said it remains “the only branch of legislative power,” and will continue to actively defend the mandate given it by the 14 million people who voted for its members in the legislative elections of December 2015.
Also approved in Saturday’s session was the establishment of a special commission made up of five lawmakers in charge of “investigating the constituent fraud so the National Assembly can undertake national and international legal action in defense” of democracy in Venezuela.
Visiting the AN on Saturday were diplomatic representatives of Spain, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, the UK, France and other countries of Europe and the Americas, who wished to show their support for the National Assembly following the decision by the Constituent Assembly to take over its functions.
Some speakers during the session denounced the measure taken Friday by the Constituent Assembly as the culmination of a process to ignore the will of the people and dismantle the last power not aligned with President Nicolas Maduro.
According to the National Assembly’s deputy speaker and member of the opposition, Freddy Guevara, the ANC’s taking over the functions of the AN will make a mockery of the necessary legislative control over new international economic accords, thus allowing the Chavista leadership to keep filling their pockets.
The Constituent Assembly was installed by the ruling party on Aug. 4 with full powers to reorganize the government and purge all its institutions.
The National Assembly also denounced in Saturday’s accord that the Constituent Assembly, made up exclusively of ruling party members, has executive power despite the fact it would supposedly have only the power to rewrite the constitution.
In its statement Saturday, the AN vowed to continue denouncing to the international community this latest step toward consolidating a dictatorship in Venezuela.
Not far away in the Foreign Ministry, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza had followed Maduro’s orders and called a meeting of the accredited diplomatic corps in Caracas, before whose members he slammed the “automatic solidarity” of many countries with the National Assembly and denied that stripping it of its functions signified its dissolution.
“It’s completely fallacious how they say that Venezuela’s legislative branch was dismantled by the Constituent Assembly. It’s really Venezuela’s legislative branch that refuses to acknowledge the Constituent Assembly as a plenipotentiary institution,” Arreaza said.