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Following yesterday’s passing a motion annulling the appointment of 34 pro-PSUV magistrates to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), the opposition in the National Assembly has announced that it will move ahead with the process of filling the vacant seats. The matter of finding replacement magistrates is now in the hands of a special parliamentary commission.

MUD deputy Richard Blanco told reporters after yesterday’s vote that the opposition would ignore any ruling by the TSJ, presumably until the replacement magistrates are appointed.

Another MUD deputy, Carlos Berrizbeitia, stressed that the magistrates whose appointments have been annulled are no longer magistrates:

Starting yesterday, no ruling can be signed by any one of these 13 magistrates and 21 back-ups. They must be aware of the present and future consequences over the illegality of signing any ruling.

Yesterday’s vote signals the start of an institutional showdown in Venezuela. With the TSJ unlikely to adhere by the National Assembly’s motion, it is not exactly clear what will happen once the legislature appoints replacements to the magistrates.

Earlier this morning, National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup told reporters that the legislature acted within its power to annul the appointments because the magistrates “do not meet the requisites to be there”, and that:

[The TSJ’s] Constitutional Chamber is unconstitutional.

Allup went on to say:

The appointments were annulled because the previous assembly appointment them during a fraudulent process, where [the magistrates] were allowed to vote for themselves. We annulled them because they violated the constitution, are unethical, do not carry out their functions, and they did not meet the requisites when they were appointed.

Allup also pointed out the fact that according to recent polls, the National Assembly has an approval rating of approximately 70%, which he suggested gives the opposition a mandate.

On next week’s parliamentary schedule, Allup said that the opposition would move the re-instate the three deputies from Amazonas state who were ordered out of their seats by the TSJ earlier this year. The TSJ is five months overdue with its decision in the case, which Allup considers to be an offence against the citizens of Amazonas state who have been unrepresented the entire year.

NA To Send Report to OAS On Annulment

The National Assembly announced today that it would send a report to the Organization of American States (OAS) on the annulment of the magistrates. The point of the report will be to outline to the OAS all of the irregularities that took place when the PSUV-controlled National Assembly appointed the magistrates.

MUD deputy Carlos Berrizbeitia announced the legislature’s intentions by saying:

The report is very clear, and the political move we made is crystal-clear before the eyes of Venezuelans. The Mesa de la Unidad [MUD] will send all of the files that the [National Assembly] commission prepared to the OAS’s diplomatic body and to all international organizations.

Berrizbeitia also said that “any recently-graduated jurist” would be able to see the “juridical aberrations” outlined in the report.


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