Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pro-Maduro assembly extends rule as Caracas rally marks election win

Pro-Maduro assembly extends rule as Caracas rally marks election win

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a rally in front of Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on Monday. MARVIN RECINOS/AFP

Pro-Maduro assembly extends rule as Caracas rally marks election win

Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly, made up entirely of loyalists of President Nicolas Maduro, announced on Monday it has extended its mandate to rule the crisis-stricken country for another 18 months until the end of 2020.

The move comes a year after the contested re-election of embattled Maduro, locked in a struggle for power with Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president and is backed by more than 50 countries including the US.

In a decree approved unanimously and which applies immediately, the Constituent Assembly extended its functioning “at least until December 31, 2020”.

The pro-Maduro body has effectively sidelined and replaced Venezuela’s opposition-dominated National Assembly, which is led by Guaido.

It was originally set up by Maduro to write a new constitution, and gave itself absolute power following its creation in August 2017. It has never presented any project related to the constitution.

Its creation – initially intended to last only two years – came after months of anti-Maduro protests that left 125 people dead.

Maduro has presided over the collapse of the oil-rich country’s economy, leading to shortages of basic food and medicine, and causing millions of Venezuelans to flee.

The “Constituent Assembly is the greatest guarantee of political stability,” Maduro said later on Monday, as he rallied thousands of supporters in Caracas to mark the anniversary of his controversial May 2018 re-election following polls widely denounced as rigged.

Maduro also reiterated his proposal to bring forward National Assembly elections, currently due for December 2020, telling the crowd: “I want elections now!”

Supporters carrying “March for Victory” banners took to the streets of the Venezuelan capital, many waving flags of the ruling Socialist party and wearing red T-shirts as they marched to Miraflores presidential palace.

Some carried banners saying “Trump, end the blockade on Venezuela” – a reference to a raft of crippling US sanctions on Maduro’s regime.

“We celebrate the first anniversary of the popular victory of May 20, the day in which Venezuela decided in favor of peace, democracy and freedom,” Maduro wrote on Twitter.

The rally took place exactly one year after Maduro was re-elected with 68 per cent of the vote in an election boycotted by the opposition.

“It’s been a battle, a war. They haven’t let him govern,” said Maduro supporter Hector Aular, 62, describing the first year of the new government as “hard.”

‘ Very positive’

Maduro was sworn in for a second six-year term in January, shortly before Guaido, claiming constitutional legitimacy as the National Assembly speaker, declared himself acting president.

Guaido quickly won recognition from more than 50 countries, but has failed to topple Maduro, who is backed by Venezuela creditors China and Russia and retains the support of the powerful military.

He tried to incite an uprising against Maduro on April 30 but only around 30 members of the armed forces joined him, and the revolt quickly petered out.

Since then, the Maduro regime has ramped up pressure on Guaido’s allies and supporters.

The Constituent Assembly recently stripped 14 opposition lawmakers of their legislative immunity over their support for the failed uprising.

Guaido on Monday tweeted: “We reiterate that with peaceful mobilisation, international pressure and the growing support of our [armed forces], we will achieve the end of the usurpation … and free elections.”

Carlos Vecchio, Guaido’s representative in Washington, met with officials from the State Department and the Pentagon on Monday. The meeting was “very positive,” he said on Twitter.


  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures