Venezuela’s Top Court Shuts Down Parliament, Hijacks Legislative Powers
EspañolVenezuela’s Supreme Court nullified the country’s legislative body in a ruling this week, announcing it would assume all legislative functions in its place.
The country’s highest court, which has historically favored President Nicolas Maduro’s administration, ruled that the opposition-majority National Assembly is being held in contempt and will no longer be authorized to pass legislation.
The ruling warned that “as long as the contempt and invalidity of the proceedings of the National Assembly persist, this constitutional chamber shall ensure that parliamentary powers are exercised directly by this chamber or the body that it chooses, to ensure the rule of law. ”
The court also ruled that Maduro’s administration will have a say in the decisions exercised on behalf of the National Assembly.
Using the state of emergency as justification, the court said: “the Head of State may modify, by means of reform, the norm object to interpretation, in correspondence with the jurisprudence of this high court.”
In an interview for PanAm Post, constitutional lawyer Juan Manuel Raffalli explained that due to these recent rulings, Maduro will be able to make any and decisions at his convenience.
“While there is a state of exception in economic matters,” he said, “what is mentioned in this ruling — that’s the possibility of an exception state by internal shock.”
Rafalli said Maduro could take advantage of the situation and initiate legal proceedings, indict people, take action against media and freedom of expression among others.
Suspending elections, imprisoning members of congress and withdrawing Venezuela from the Organization of American States are three other measures that the president might now be able to take.
Political Scientist Luis Salamaca told the newspaper El Nacional that the ruling gives Maduro total power to “handle everything without any respect for the norms established in the Magna Carta,” and warned that the government might be setting the stage for avoiding elections in 2018.
On Wednesday, Cardinal Baltazar Porras said the ruling issued by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice limits parliamentary immunity and grants Maduro extraordinary powers.
“It’s a decision that takes us toward the cliff of the dictatorship,” he said.