Venezuela congress defies push to take over its powers

Venezuela's chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas Venezuela

The move Friday, August 18, by the Constituent Assembly, which is loyal to socialist President Nicolas Maduro, was angrily rejected by opposition leaders and has drawn widespread worldwide condemnation as a power grab by Maduro loyalists.

18 de agosto de 2017, 19:54Caracas, Aug 18 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly (ANC) President Delcy Rodriguez clarified today that the country " s Parliament, in disobedience, had not been dissolved, but ordered its deputies to work abiding by the Bolivarian Constitution.

The constituent assembly was elected in late July to re-write the constitution, which the unpopular Maduro billed as the only solution to bring about peace after more than four months of deadly opposition protests.

The assembly's assumption of this power changes little in the country, Reuters reported.

Ortega first spoke out against Maduro in late March following a Supreme Court decision to nullify the opposition-controlled congress, the National Assembly.

Mr Maduro's wife and son are among the 545 members of the new assembly, which was set up following a controversial election earlier this month.

On the night of the constitutional assembly's election, Maduro encouraged delegates to quickly declare her office in a state of emergency and remove her from office.

But Diosdado Cabello, a senior member of Maduro's inner circle, said the decision had stopped short of disbanding congress, and that the Constituent Assembly was simply assuming congressional powers. Washington has said it will consider sanctions against anyone who participates in the constituent assembly.

Luisa Ortega Diaz and German Ferrer arrived in Bogota aboard a private plane travelling from Aruba, Colombian migration authorities said in a statement. But in a public letter, all 109 opposition lawmakers refused to subordinate themselves to a body they consider illegitimate and a betrayal of the 14 million voters who took part in 2015 parliamentary elections that gave Maduro's critics their first toehold on power in nearly two decades of socialist rule.

In an audio recording broadcast Friday in Puebla (Mexico) at a summit of the prosecutors, she has accused president Maduro of being involved in the vast corruption scandal around the constructor brazilian Odebrecht, claiming to hold evidence. Also on the agenda in Friday's session was a debate over a proposed law targeting opposition leaders for promoting months of protests that left more than 120 people dead and hundreds more injured or jailed. Maduro to consolidate power for his party. Considering that many opposition figures supported the demonstrations, the commission could hobble their efforts at winning governorships in the upcoming vote.

Nauert said the U.S. joins Venezuela's neighbours in condemning the illegitimate Constituent Assembly and its authoritarian directives.

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