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World Venezuelan court overturns congress decision to allow virtual votes

23:13  19 december  2019
23:13  19 december  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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IQUITOS, Peru — Venezuela ’s Supreme Court on Saturday reversed parts of a decision to strip the national legislature of its powers, an abrupt shift that came amid mounting domestic and international criticism that the country was edging toward dictatorship.

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a decision by the opposition-run congress that allowed lawmakers to vote virtually after a government crackdown pushed dozens of legislators out of the country or into hiding.

a man wearing glasses: Judges of the constitutional section of Venezuela's Supreme Court attend a meeting, in Caracas© Reuters/MANAURE QUINTERO Judges of the constitutional section of Venezuela's Supreme Court attend a meeting, in Caracas

Magistrate Juan José Mendoza announced the ruling that voting remotely on legislation violates the Venezuelan constitution which requires a lawmaker be present. Mendoza also urged the Prosecutor's Office to investigate the National Assembly's decision on Tuesday, citing potential criminal conduct.

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The Venezuelan supreme court has reversed its ruling to strip congress of its legislative powers. It made the decision after the government of President Nicolas Maduro urged it to review the ruling "to maintain institutional stability". The initial decision , which was announced on Wednesday, had been

The court divided along ideological lines, and the two sides drew sharply different lessons from the history of the civil rights movement and the “ Congress — if it is to divide the states — must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions,” he wrote.

National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó is seeking reelection on Jan. 5, a year after invoking the Constitution to be interim president on the grounds that President Nicolas Maduro was re-elected in fraudulent elections. Government opponents accuse Maduro of trying to close the only institution controlled by the opposition.

About 30 National Assembly opposition members are abroad or in hiding due to judicial proceedings that government critics say are aimed at silencing adversaries. Previously, the legislature could not approve measures without the physical presence of 50% of the legislators or their substitutes.

On Wednesday three legislators who split from the opposition amid allegations of accepting bribes from the ruling Socialist party asked the Supreme Court to void the National Assembly decision.

(Reporting by Vivian Sequera; Writing by Sarah Kinosian; Editing by Richard Chang)

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