Nicolás Maduro's Socialists Take Control of Parliament
In Venezuela, the opposition is losing its last bastion. After the controversial election, the new National Assembly met for the first time - among the socialists.
In Venezuela, the socialists have taken control of the last important political institution. About a month after the controversial parliamentary elections in which the newly elected National Assembly met. The 277 MPs, 256 of whom belong to the Socialist Party (PSUV) of the dictator Nicolás Maduro and its allies, took their oath of office on Tuesday. Former Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez has been appointed new Speaker of Parliament.
Since 2015, the opposition has been in control under the leadership of the previous speaker of parliament and the Venezuela interim president Juan Guaidó. The National Assembly was the last institution in Venezuela not yet dominated by Mr. Maduro.
As Mr. Rodríguez announced on Twitter, the police surrounded Mr. Guaidó's house in the early morning. Mr. Gu assured the Venezuelans who support the opposition that the National Assembly representatives elected in the previous elections will not resign. We stand not only to preserve the institutions and legitimate dialogue that Parliament represents, but also because of the millions of Venezuelans who want change, the Venezuela's interim-president stated.
According to the electoral authority, Maduro won the general election on December 6 with 68 percent of the vote. Despite Mr. Guaidó's previous boycott call, some sections of the opposition still ran for elections, but only came to 18 percent. The turnout was just 31 percent.
The European Union therefore did not recognize the official election result.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that Washington would continue to recognize Mr. Guaidó as the rightful president. The National Assembly, on the other hand, is "a fraudulently elected institution" whose decisions the US government will not recognize.
The National Assembly, under the control of the opposition, decided in December to continue meeting in parallel with the newly elected parliament. According to some specialists, however, there is no legal basis for this.
Meanwhile, the police surrounded the home of the previous head of parliament and the interim president Mr. Guaidó early in the morning, his communications director said on Twitter. Mr. Guaidó himself wrote: "While the dictatorship tries to create terror and militarizes parliament, we will establish the new legislature of the legitimate national assembly." In a parallel session later he swore the oath on the continuity of this national assembly with 147 members.