Venezuela parliament says achieves 'supermajority' to oust Maduro
Iran Press TV
Thu Jan 7, 2016 3:10AM
Venezuela's opposition-controlled parliament says it now has the necessary power to legally oust President Nicolas Maduro after the three barred anti-government lawmakers were sworn in in defiance of the country's president and the Supreme Court.
Newly-elected National Assembly Speaker Henry Ramos Allup made the remarks on the first regular legislative session on Wednesday, when the three boosted the number of the opposition seats to 112 out of the total 167 to narrowly pass the threshold for a supermajority in the legislative body. The three opposition members, along with a pro-government lawmaker, had been suspended due to electoral irregularities.
Socialist lawmakers denounce the National Assembly's decision to swear in the three lawmakers and ignore the injunction by the Supreme Court, saying it had violated the constitution. "This assembly has totally lost its legitimacy," they said.
The opposition -- the United Democratic Roundtable -- won a victory over Maduro's United Socialist Party in the December 6 polls and took control of the National Assembly for the first time since 1999, the year Hugo Chavez came to power.
The opposition coalition of parties secured 112 of 167 seats to have a two-thirds commanding majority that would allow it to restrict the powers of President Maduro, remove Supreme Court judges, appoint key officials such as an independent attorney general and a national comptroller, and even rewrite the constitution.
Allup had earlier said that he would find a way to get rid of Maduro within six months and even ordered to remove portraits of Chavez from the parliament. Maduro's presidential term will end in 2019.
In response to the speakers' comments, Maduro said that he "will be there to defend democracy with an iron hand. They will not make me give ground or waver." He also reacted to the opinion polls saying the opposition could continue to win in the polls but "we will win in the streets."
The opposition accuses Maduro's Socialist Party of mismanaging the economy and leading the oil-rich country to poverty. Anti-government politicians also say they are dissatisfied with the government's policies. Venezuela is reportedly facing shortages of basic supplies like rice, sugar, cooking oil, milk, and coffee.
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