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Venezuela’s constituent assembly takes power over congress

Venezuela’s newly-formed constituent assembly passed a decree on Friday, August 18, to take over certain powers of the opposition-controlled congress.

The assembly voted unanimously to give itself the power to “legislate on issues directly related to preservation of peace, the socio-economic financial system … and the preeminence of Venezuelans’ human rights,” according to the decree.

Congress President Julio Borges denounced the move by the assembly, calling it a “coup d’Etat” that was dissolving congress entirely.

Constituent Assembly President Delcy Rodríguez denied congress had been dissolved, saying it was still in function and must work in accordance with the constitution.

However, without legislative duties, it is unclear what power the Venezuelan congress will still have.

The constituent assembly came into power after a July 30 vote to elect 545 members. President Nicolás Maduro sought delegates loyal to the Chavismo movement to rewrite the nation’s constitution following months of protests against his government that have left at least 100 dead.

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