Venezuela walks back move to strip Congress’ power

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

CARACAS | Venezuela’s pres­i­dent and Supreme Court backed down Satur­day from an un­prece­dented move to strip Congress of its leg­isla­tive pow­ers that had sparked wide­spread charges that the South Amer­i­can coun­try was no longer a democ­racy.

Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro asked the Supreme Court in a late-night speech to re­view a rul­ing nul­li­fy­ing the branch of power that set off a storm of crit­i­cism from the op­po­si­tion and for­eign gov­ern­ments. The court on Satur­day re­in­stated Congress’ au­thor­ity.

It was a rare in­stance of the em­bat­tled so­cial­ist pres­i­dent back­ing away from a move to in­crease his power. Op­po­si­tion lead­ers dis­missed the re­ver­sal as too lit­tle too late. They said the clar­i­fi­ca­tion is­sued by the judges only proved yet again that Maduro con­trols the courts and there is no longer a real sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers in Venezuela.

At the same time, crit­ics cel­e­brated the re­ver­sal as proof that cracks are be­gin­ning to show in Maduro’s con­trol of a coun­try spi­ral­ing into chaos, with his ap­proval rat­ings dip­ping be­low 20 per­cent amid the wors­en­ing eco­nomic and hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.

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