“As long as the National Assembly’s contempt of court and invalidity persist, parliamentary powers shall be exercised directly by (the Supreme Court’s) constitutional chamber or by the body it stipulates to safeguard the rule of law,” the high court said in the ruling, issued late Wednesday.
In the ruling, the government-stacked Supreme Court argues that the congress is in contempt of court for swearing in three opposition lawmakers from the state of Amazonas who have been accused of electoral fraud.
The court said it will take over all “parliamentary capacities” until the conflict is resolved.
“This ruling marks a point of no return for this dictatorship,” said National Assembly’s Vice President Freddy Guevara, as quoted by El Nacional, an independent daily newspaper in Venezuela.
“It is no longer just a question of annulling everything that the National Assembly does, but of usurping all its powers, allowing them to approve new “sentencing laws” that give more power to the dictator to continue hurting the people,” he said.
Guevera said the Assembly leadership is evaluating the situation and will issue a statement in the next few hours.
Congressman Henry Ramos Allup said the opposition will not back down.
“The best thing we can do as deputies, is keep going to the assembly and doing our jobs,” he told El Nacional. “We can’t run off.”
On Tuesday, members of the Organization of American States urged Venezuela’s government and opposition to settle their differences through dialogue, backing off from threats to suspend the socialist-run country.
The contentious special meeting at the OAS headquarters in Washington underscored the difficulty that regional governments increasingly concerned about Venezuela’s crisis face as they try to force the unpopular President Nicolas Maduro to cede some power to his opponents and restore badly damaged democratic norms.
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