Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Mashujaa day: Kenyatta and Odinga call for peace before election rerun

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Kurdish referendum a ‘colossal mistake’, says son of late president Talabani

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The new 30s club: NZ's Jacinda Ardern joins list of maverick leaders

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Raqqa, Kirkuk, Xi Jinping

Read more

REPORTERS

The Dictator's Games: A rare look inside Turkmenistan

Read more

#TECH 24

Teaching maths with holograms

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Is China exporting its pollution?

Read more

#THE 51%

Are female empowerment adverts actually good for the cause?

Read more

FOCUS

The mixed legacy of 'Abenomics' in Japan

Read more

Americas

Venezuela's Maduro calls for new constitution written by 'people's' body

© Carlos Becerra / AFP | Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro delivers a speech during a rally on May Day in Caracas, on May 1, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-05-02

Venezuela's beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro on Monday called for a new constitution, to be written by a "people's" body circumventing the opposition-held Congress.

The decree was to "block the fascist coup" threatening the country, he told thousands of supporters in Caracas at a May Day rally.

The new constitution-writing entity would be "a citizen's constituent body, not from political parties -- a people's constituent body," he said.

Maduro's move mirrored that of his late Socialist predecessor Hugo Chavez, who in 1999 had a Constituent Assembly of various representatives draw up Venezuela's current constitution. The text was overwhelmingly passed by a referendum.

Venezuela is in the grip of more than a month of near-daily protests against Maduro marked by violence that has killed nearly 30 people.

The unrest is fuelled by an economic collapse in the oil-producing nation that has caused shortages of food and medicine.

Maduro says the country is being roiled as part of a US-led capitalist plot.

The opposition says Maduro, backed by the military, is ruling in an increasingly dictatorial fashion and only early elections can provide a solution.

500-member body

Maduro told the May Day crowd that he would submit the application for the new body to write the referendum to the National Electoral Council on Monday.

It urges the election of 500 people to sit on the assembly. Around half would be drawn from sectors of society -- from a "working class base," Maduro said -- directly choosing their representatives, while the other half would be named by local councils across the country.

"It is going to be a Constituent Assembly elected by direct vote by the people," he said.

Venezuela's current constitution permits the president to establish such a body.

"I am giving you the power that Hugo Chavez gave me," Maduro told the crowd. "Go and win this battle."

Anti-government street demonstrations in Venezuela surged from April 1 after the Supreme Court tried to strengthen Maduro's grip on power by stripping authority from the legislature.

Maduro has rejected opposition calls for general elections before his term ends late next year. He has also bristled at what he calls international interference in his country's affairs.

Venezuela last week said it was quitting the Organization of American States after it and other international bodies expressed concern about the country's adherence to democracy.

Another regional bloc, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is to hold an extraordinary meeting on Venezuela in El Salvador on Tuesday.

(AFP)

Date created : 2017-05-02

  • VENEZUELA

    Protesters in Venezuela mark one month since they took to the streets

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA

    Venezuela to quit regional bloc as deadly protests continue

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA

    Maduro short on regional allies as Venezuela crisis rages

    Read more

COMMENT(S)