National Constituent Assembly

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Group.png Asamblea Nacional Constituyente  
NCA President.jpg

On 30 July 2017 elections to Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly (NCA) took place and 545 NCA members were elected.

Unlike the 1999 Constituent Assembly, which was assembled following a referendum, the 2017 NCA election was convened by Nicolás Maduro's presidential decree.[1][2]

Meetings of the NCA are held in the Federal Legislative Palace, right next door to the opposition-controlled National Assembly (Parliament).[3][4]

Delcy Rodriguez has been sworn in as President of the NCA and Aristobulo Isturiz as its First Vice President.

Unconstitutional

Opposition lawmakers have said that the NCA is unconstitutional, all decisions it makes will have no legal value and, on 7 August, approved an agreement “not to recognise acts that contradict the constitutional order.” The agreement refused to recognise the NCA and claimed its first actions confirmed it was working on behalf of the “dictatorship.”

Opposition members and representatives recently argued that the NCA would try to dissolve the National Assembly, in clear violation of the Venezuelan Constitution, but commentators have rejected the argument.

Coexistence

In an interview with teleSUR, political researcher Walter Ortiz said that the National Assembly and NCA can coexist from a political, judicial and constitutional basis. Indeed since the NCA was inaugurated, Venezuela’s Parliament has continued to function normally. The coexistence of both assemblies is guaranteed by the agreement approved in the NCA session on 8 August. The agreement outlines how the NCA will work in harmony with constituted public authorities in order contribute to peace, public calm, equality and integrity of all Venezuelans.

Ortiz said that Article 349 of the Constitution establishes that “Constituted power cannot in any way impede the decision of the Constituent Assembly,” meaning failing to recognise any act from the NCA is unconstitutional.

The historian and former NCA candidate Juan Romero told teleSUR in a phone conversation that the statute restricts the power of the National Assembly but does not imply its dissolution. According to Romero, the rule approved by the ANC is inspired by the rule proposed in the Constituent Assembly in 1999 which indicated that the National Assembly will perform the same role as always, as long as it does not affect the decisions from the NCA.

Romero explained that the National Assembly will continue functioning at the level of work reunions and commissions but will not be able to make laws on the economy, policy or security given that this would interfere with the work of the NCA. Romero described opposition claims that the NCA will dissolve the National Assembly as false news which seeks to delegitimise the constitutionality of the Venezuelan state.

For Ortiz, the opposition is using the allegation to rally international support given that internal destabilisation strategies have not worked.[5]  

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References

  1. "Venezuela: What is Maduro's Constituent Assembly?". Al Jazeera. 30 July 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2017. 
  2. Virginia López and Sibylla Brodzinsky (July 25, 2017). "Venezuela to vote amid crisis: all you need to know". The Guardian. Retrieved July 29, 2017. 
  3. "As Venezuela unrest spreads, Maduro presses on with plans to rewrite charter". Reuters. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  4. "Venezuelan gov't proposes constitutional assembly election on July 30". EFE. 4 June 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  5. "Can Venezuela’s National Assembly and Constituent Assembly Coexist?"