The big win by Venezuela’s opposition in this month’s election, which yielded a two-thirds supermajority in the country’s parliament, is threatened by a constitutional court ruling against three of its incoming lawmakers, temporarily barring them from taking office. The news comes after the parliament last week put more than a dozen Socialist loyalist justices on the Supreme Court. Bloomberg has more:
The court’s electoral branch said it’s authorized to review electoral challenges that could overturn the results in eight races, according to decisions posted on its website. By winning 112 of the National Assembly’s 167 seats in the Dec. 6 national ballot, the opposition’s so-called supermajority would allow it to change the constitution, impeach ministers and even push for a referendum on removing the president.
After President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist PSUV party lost control of the legislature for the first time since 1999, the Venezuelan leader vowed that Congress would continue to pass laws before its term ends. That has heightened tensions with opposition leaders who want to roll back measures they say have stoked inflation, fueled corruption, and led to shortages of basic consumer goods.
Calling the move a “judicial coup,” the opposition said it would bring all 112 lawmakers to inauguration ceremonies next week. It’s the latest in a quickly escalating conflict over the country’s political future and violence cannot be ruled out. Maduro controls the courts, the bureaucracy, and the army. He won’t let go of power quickly or easily. Maduro’s electoral defeat is both good and bad, as the stage may be set for a messy 2016.