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Latin America

Venezuelan assembly set to vote on Maduro’s economic emergency decree

Opposition expected to reject measures despite approval from country’s Supreme Court

Venezuela’s National Assembly is expected to vote on Friday whether to approve or reject President Nicolás Maduro’s decree for an Economic State of Emergency.

On Wednesday, the Venezuelan Supreme Court gave Maduro the go-ahead with his plans to decree emergency measures that he said are necessary to help citizens deal with grueling financial and social crises.

The constitutional panel at the Supreme Court – which is dominated by the president’s supporters – ruled that Maduro’s announced measures are legal under the Constitution.

During his speech before the assembly last Friday, the president said that his goal was “to protect the social rights of education, health, housing and sport for all Venezuelans.”

A National Assembly committee has been calling in experts for their opinions ahead of Friday’s vote

It was Maduro’s first address to the assembly since the opposition took control of the legislative body after it won a majority of seats in the December 6 parliamentary race.

Venezuela has been struggling with severe food shortages, power blackouts and high inflation for several years. The country, which is dependent on revenue from its petroleum industry, has also been hit hard by falling prices on the global oil market.

On Tuesday, a special committee appointed by the National Assembly to study Maduro’s decree began calling in economic experts and government officials with knowledge in the area to give their opinions before Friday’s vote.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling, Maduro’s decree will become void if the opposition assembly members reject it.

Maduro on Tuesday warned of a “confrontation” if the assembly votes against his state of emergency, as is expected to happen. He said that the opposition was being pressured by a variety of powerful forces to reject the decree, and thus eliminate the possibility of any kind of agreement between the two sides.

English version by Martin Delfín.

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