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Venezuela's Top Court And President Reverse Course, Restore Powers To Legislature

Judges reinstated the National Assembly’s authority following a request from Nicolas Maduro. The ruling that annulled the assembly prompted accusations that a dictatorship was in the works.

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Venezuela’s Supreme Court restored powers to the country’s legislature amid increasing domestic and international accusations that President Nicolas Maduro and the allied court were consolidating power.

In Saturday’s rulings, the court reversed an earlier decision nullifying the national assembly, which is largely controlled by the opposition. The apparent reversal came after Maduro himself requested judges do so to preserve constitutional authority.

“The controversy is over...the constitution has won,” Maduro said in his late-night address, Reuters reports.

But the restoration of the sole governmental branch not dominated by Maduro loyalists apparently came too late to quell a backlash. Opposition lawmakers boycotted an emergency Friday night meeting and calls rang out shortly after the address to continue protests, Reuters reports.

Leading up to Maduro’s disavowal of the court’s ruling, even his top law official, Luisa Ortega, joined the chorus of critics, calling the dissolution of the assembly a “rupture of constitutional order.”

The ensuing fiasco was just the latest maneuver drawing ire among Venezuelans, according to Reuters:

“The former bus driver, foreign minister and self-declared “son” of Chavez, was narrowly elected president in 2013. “But his ratings have plummeted as Venezuelans struggle with an unprecedented economic crisis including food and medicine shortages plus the world’s highest inflation. “Critics blame a failing socialist system, whereas the government says its enemies are waging an “economic war.” The fall in oil prices since mid-2014 has exacerbated the crisis.”

The Associated Press notes Maduro’s ratings are below 20 percent.

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