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A Maduro supporter holds a portrait of Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar A Maduro supporter holds a portrait of Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar  (AFP or licensors)

Venezuela’s ruling party takes control of Congress after dispute vote

Socialist party allies of President Nicolas Maduro have officially taken control of the nation’s Congress, following a widely-boycotted election in early December.

By James Blears

The National Assembly podium was adorned with a portrait of Revolutionary hero Simon Bolivar alongside photos of late President Hugo Chavez, as the Socialist Alliance took up possession and residence.

On 6 December, they won 256 of the 277 seats in a very low turnout election, which has been condemned by Washington and the European Union.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that opposition leader Juan Guido and his followers are the only legitimate and democratic representatives. But the new Assembly President Jorge Rodriguez is pledging to take firm control, claiming he’ll cleanse the building with holy water.

Rival assemblies

Meanwhile, Guido has held his own inauguration, and says his team will continue business and to draft legislation.

He declared himself the legitimate interim-President of Venezuela back in January 2019, and more than fifty nations recognize him. But the Venezuelan armed forces, which hold the key to power, have remained loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, and do not. So change hasn’t come to pass.

Rodriguez is calling for national dialogue, but this is unlikely because the opposition are demanding that Nicolas Maduro step down and a presidential election be announced, as a pre-condition for any meaningful discussions.

Hobbled economy

More biting sanctions, especially from the United States are likely to be announced soon.

The attitude of the incoming Biden Administration is likely to be tough, unbending, and uncompromising.

Further misery for economically-crippled Venezuela is on the way. More than five and a half million people have already fled.

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06 January 2021, 16:10