The PSUV took a series of measures today in the National Assembly as it prepares to hand over power of the country’s legislation to the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) on January 5. Today’s parliamentary session is the last time the PSUV will have control of the country’s legislature for at least five years.
Susana Barreiors, the judge who sentenced Leopoldo Lopez to nearly 14 years in prison over his alleged involvement in last year’s anti-government protests, was sworn in today at the National Assembly to the office of Public Defender. As the country’s Public Defender, Barreiros will head the body that assigns and administers public defenders to Venezuelans accused of crimes.
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello praised Barreiros during the event, saying:
She has demonstrated an extraordinary amount of bravery to face all of the pressures against her, [including] death threats to her and her family.
All of the National Assembly’s opposition deputies left the chamber in protest prior to the start of the swearing-in ceremony.
Below, Susana Barreiros being sworn in to the office of Public Defender at the National Assembly earlier today:
Barreiros and Cabello posed for a photograph after the ceremony:
Cabello Creates, Installs Council in National Assembly
Aside from making Susana Barreiros’ promotion official, Cabello also created the Parlamento Comunal Nacional [National Communal Parliament] and installed it as a body that operates within the National Assembly.
While it is not entirely clear exactly what power the the parliament-within-parliament will have, its members will come from the country’s communes, political organizations created at the grassroots level in communities across the country. Cabello addressed the members of the new organization, saying:
It is up to you – the communes – in this National Communal Parliament that is being installed as of right now (…) to debate the points you have to debate, the proposals we make to our colleague President Nicolas Maduro. We have to help our colleague President Nicolas Maduro. Our colleague President Nicolas Maduro has a difficult job — or better said, we, the people, have a difficult job.
The creation of this new body is likely an attempt by the PSUV to retain some kind of power within the National Assembly as it prepares for a 2/3 opposition majority. Cabello spoke disdainfully about the new National Assembly, saying:
We are going to have a parliament that will service the bourgeoisie. It will be very uncomfortable for some of us to be there. We will always oppose anything that favours the bourgeoisie, which stands for everything that favours the people.
National Assembly Hopes to Assign TSJ Magistrates
The National Assembly also attempted to hurry the assignment process for magistrates to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), thirteen of whom have terms that end next year. While the law states that TSJ magistrates must be replaced by the National Assembly in session the year of their retirement, the PSUV has attempted to ignore the rule in order to stop the MUD from appointing their own candidates next year.
MUD National Assembly deputy Henry Ramos Allup spoke on the PSUV’s attempt through his Twitter account, calling it a “sad message” and “a declaration of war from the dying National Assembly”. Allup classified the process as “appointment express”, and pointed out that it constitutes a violation of the country’s laws.
To ask for the nullification of the motion filed by the Appointments Committee of the defunct National Assembly, which hopes to name through fraudulent means the new TSJ magistrates.
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