- Title: Venezuela pro-Maduro legislature to assess early congress elections
- Date: 13th August 2019
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (AUGUST 12, 2019) (REUTERS) MEMBERS OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY WAVING VENEZUELAN FLAGS DURING SESSION PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY, DIOSDADO CABELLO, HOLDING UP VENEZUELAN FLAG DURING SESSION (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUENTS ASSEMBLY, DIOSDADO CABELLO, SAYING: "To evaluate an agreement in accordance with the law, the constitution and the political situation of the country, consulting with bodies, the people, the street, when is the best moment to have these (parliamentary) elections." LAWMAKERS CHEERING DURING SESSION CABELLO DURING SESSION (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUENTS ASSEMBLY, DIOSDADO CABELLO, SAYING: "It was reported openly that these citizens who were elected lawmakers in the 2015 election committed crimes, and that it was requested that prosecution not process against the crimes. The prosecution is ordered to bring this before the courts." MEMBERS OF ASSEMBLY WAVING VENEZUELAN FLAG GENERAL VIEW OF SESSION IN PROGRESS CABELLO LEAVING AT END OF SESSION
- Embargoed: 27th August 2019 02:21
- Keywords: Venezuela Caracas legislature 2020 legislative elections Constituent Assembly opposition leader Juan Guaido opposition President Nicolas Maduro
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001AS1V7EV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Venezuela's pro-government legislature on Monday (August 12) agreed to create a commission to evaluate holding 2020 legislative elections early, which would create an opportunity for the government to reclaim control of the opposition-dominated congress.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido warned on Sunday (August 11) that the Constituent Assembly would decide on Monday to disband the congress he leads and move up elections after President Nicolas Maduro called for a new "offensive." Instead, the Constituent Assembly's head, Diosdado Cabello, downplayed Guaido's comments and said there was no need to disband congress as it "didn't work" and "had eliminated itself on its own."
Any move to disband congress would fuel criticism of Maduro in the international community and almost certainly halt Norway-brokered talks between the government and Guaido allies meant to reach a negotiated solution to Venezuela's political stalemate.
Cabello said the commission would evaluate "in accordance with the law, the constitution and the political situation" when would be the best moment for the legislative elections.
Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court said it accused three opposition lawmakers of treason and conspiracy, in addition to 21 other deputies the court has charged with similar crimes since 2018. Of those accused, two lawmakers remain under arrest while most others have either fled the country or sought refuge in friendly embassies.
Congressional elections are held every five years and are not scheduled until December 2020.
The opposition in 2015 won a two-thirds majority of congress in a landslide vote, taking control for the first time in 16 years. Maduro's government refused to recognize any of its decisions, and the Supreme Court has shot down every measure it approved.
In 2017, Maduro launched an election to create the Constituent Assembly, an all-powerful body that is officially tasked with rewriting the constitution but in practice functions as a parallel legislature with no checks on its power.
The opposition broadly boycotted that vote, and the creation of the institution was criticised around the world as undermining democracy.
Guaido invoked the constitution in January to assume a rival presidency, saying Maduro's 2018 re-election was fraudulent. He has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the United States, as Venezuela's legitimate president.
(Production: Johnny Carvajal, Paul Vieira)
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