Venezuela inaugurates new legislative superbody despite protests

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela on Friday inaugurated a new legislative superbody that is anticipated to rewrite the structure and give huge new powers to the ruling Socialist Celebration, defying international condemnation that the new Meeting undermines democratic freedoms.

President Nicolas Maduro says the 545-member Meeting, which was elected on Sunday in a vote boycotted by using the opposition, will deliver peace to a nation beset by using violent protests and a profound financial obstacle.

The Assembly unanimously elected well-recognized Socialist Birthday Party leaders to its management, with former Overseas Minister Delcy Rodriguez to function the president, and former vp Aristobulo Isturiz as First vice president.

“This National constituent Meeting, convened by way of President Nicolas Maduro, is hereby formally inaugurated,” said Rodriguez, dressed in a shiny purple pantsuit.

Her first speech to the body used to be a homage to late president Hugo Chavez who she known as “our everlasting commander.”

The Assembly will perform in the same downtown Caracas palace advanced as the prevailing opposition-run congress, which might doubtlessly be dissolved through the new all-highly effective body.

Supporters of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro reveal outdoor Palacio Federal Legislativo all the way through the Nationwide Constituent Meeting’s first session, in Caracas, Venezuela August Four, 2017.Carlos Garcia Rawlins

The Two our bodies are expected to carry periods in parallel, separated by way of an ornate cobblestone courtyard.

Governments starting from Latin American neighbors to the united states and European Union have condemned the vote, with the Vatican making a final minute plea for authorities to suspend it.

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Socialist Celebration officers converged on congress in a festive march by which they carried pictures of independence hero Simon Bolivar and Chavez, whose image used to be removed by using the opposition legislators after they took over in January 2016.

“The constituent Meeting is love, peace and loyalty,” mentioned Raquel Rodriguez, a 57-12 months-previous Government employee who joined the march. “Lots Of People have now not been loyal to this (movement), but everybody right here has.”

The delegates to the Assembly sang the National anthem, led by way of a recording of the voice of the late Chavez.

The Meeting’s election on Sunday triggered U.S. President Donald Trump to label Maduro a dictator, a time period the opposition has lengthy used to explain the unpopular leader.

Brazil on Friday really helpful that Venezuela be suspended from trade bloc Mercosur except it returns to democracy.

Writing by means of Hugh Bronstein and Brian Ellsworth; Further reporting through Eyanir Chinea and Enrique Pretel; Modifying with the aid of W Simon and Andrew Hay

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