- Title: Venezuela Congress says Maduro 'abandoned post'; Congress called 'disobedient'
- Date: 9th January 2017
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF EXTERIORS OF SUPREME COURT
- Embargoed: 24th January 2017 23:26
- Keywords: National Assembly Nicolas Maduro abandonment
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA/ INTERNET
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA/ INTERNET
- Country: Venezuela
- Reuters ID: LVA0025YD18W3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Venezuela's opposition-led Congress on Monday (January 9) approved a resolution declaring that President Nicolas Maduro had "abandoned his post," a symbolic move unlikely to break a year-long stalemate between the executive and the legislature.
"Nicolas Maduro abandoned the Venezuelan people. He abandoned the Constitution, and, because of this, this National Assembly must declare today that he abandoned his post," said Congress' Vice-President Freddy Guevara.
The opposition won a sweeping majority in 2015 elections as a result of anger over the country's deep economic crisis, but has been hamstrung by a hostile Supreme Court that has shot down nearly every measure it has approved.
The opposition in 2016 spent months organizing to seek a recall referendum on Maduro's rule, but that effort was effectively scuttled by electoral authorities that the opposition accuses of supporting the ruling Socialist Party.
"We demand an electoral solution to Venezuela's crisis, so that the people can express themselves through the vote, That is what this National Assembly is calling for," Congress President Julio Borges said following the vote to approve it.
Maduro's critics blame him for triple-digit inflation, Soviet-style product shortages and snaking grocery store lines that stretch for blocks. Maduro, a former union leader and ex bus driver, says he is the victim of an "economic war" led by his political adversaries with the support of Washington.
The court last year ordered Congress to halt a political trial of Maduro meant to declare him responsible for the country's crisis, and the president has dismissed the legislature's moves against him as unconstitutional.
"Today, they fail to recognize one more decision by a court that told them ahead of time that it is not in the National Assembly's power to debate a trial of any kind against the president of the Republic," said ruling-party Deputy Hector Rodriguez.
Congress opened a year ago to great fanfare among Maduro's adversaries amid hopes the opposition majority would be able to revamp the country's decaying, state-led economic system. But the situation has instead devolved into a political stalemate as economic difficulties have become steadily more extreme.
Maduro's term in office ends in 2019.
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