Venezuela’s new Constituent Assembly declares itself superior to all other government bodies

Aug 11, 2017 12:30 IST

Venezuela’s new Constituent Assembly declares itself superior to all other government bodiesThe newly-established Constitutional Assembly of Venezuela announced itself superior to all other governmental institutions, including the opposition-controlled congress.

The Assembly approved a decree on 8 August 2017 that obliges other government bodies to recognize its wide-ranging powers and adhere to its decisions.

In addition, the order prohibits the opposition-held National Assembly and other government bodies from taking any action that would interfere with the constituent assembly's laws.

The decree was passed amidst fears that the all-powerful constituent assembly will undermine the legislature and judiciary.

On the other hand, foreign governments and international bodies have refused to recognize the pro-government body.  

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stated that a new constitution would help resolve the nation's political standoff. However, the opposition leaders describe the situation as a power grab.

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Political Crisis in Venezuela

In 2014, a series of protests, political demonstrations and civil insurrection began in Venezuela due to the country's high levels of urban violence, inflation and chronic shortages of basic goods.

While protests occurred in January 2014, after the murder of actress and former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear, mass protesting began in February 2014 following the attempted rape of a student on a university campus in San Cristobal.

By 2016, protests occurred following the controversy surrounding the 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary elections as well as the incidents surrounding the 2016 recall referendum.

On 1 September 2016, the largest demonstration of the protests occurred, with over 1 million Venezuelans, gathered to demand a recall election against President Maduro.

In July 2017, Venezuelans were summoned to the polls to vote for a new lawmaking body, known as the Constituent Assembly.

The newly elected body rewrote the 1999 constitution, the cornerstone of former President Hugo Chavez's "Bolivarian Revolution," which extended presidential term limits and allowed for indefinite re-elections.

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