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Next Tuesday Venezuelan president Maduro will begin governing by decree

Saturday, November 16th 2013 - 07:25 UTC
Full article 77 comments
Maduro pledged deep discounts in the prices of toys, cars and clothing once he has the “enabling powers” Maduro pledged deep discounts in the prices of toys, cars and clothing once he has the “enabling powers”

Venezuela's legislature gave initial backing this week to a measure granting extraordinary powers over the economy to President Nicolas Maduro, which means next Tuesday, when the second vote, he will be able to govern by decree without having to seek parliamentary approval.

 Maduro's supporters who hold the majority in the National Assembly managed to have the bill passed by 99 votes in the 165 member chamber, precisely the three-fifths needed for approval.

The populist leader requested the special powers last month, saying he needs them to fight corruption and combat opponents who are waging “economic warfare” against his government.

National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello, a close Maduro ally, was mildly mocking of those in the legislature who opposed the measure.

“You can lodge an appeal with whomever you'd like. Go before the United Nations,” he said calling the vote a victory for ”the Venezuelan people, the nation and (deceased former president Hugo) Chavez.“

Maduro has said he will use the expanded powers, which last for one year, to impose caps on private sector profits and crack down on speculators.

The so-called ”enabling law,“ he said would allow him to ”protect wages, keep an eye on costs, protect price controls and put reasonable limits on profits, at every step of the economic ladder.”

The vote is the latest move by the Venezuelan leader to strengthen his hand as he faces an important political test in municipal elections next month.

Over the weekend, Maduro used his existing authority to make retail appliance stores slash prices, sending troops to keep order among the unruly crowds that quickly formed.

The deep discounts of as much as 60%, which Maduro has said would be extended to toys, cars and clothing, come as workers cash their yearend pay bonuses, allowing them to make purchases that otherwise might have been out of reach.

Venezuela has been battered by 54% rate of inflation, a shortage of hard currency, and widespread shortages of consumer goods.

Critics however blame Venezuela's economic woes on the government-imposed fixed exchange rate and price controls, saying they have led to shortages of basic goods such as toilet paper, rice and meat.

Maduro's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) had been one lawmaker short of the votes needed in the National Assembly to pass the measure, which needs a three-fifths majority.

The party got the crucial 99th vote earlier in the week by ousting opposition lawmaker Maria Mercedes Aranguren from the unicameral assembly.

Aranguren had been elected as a PSUV candidate, but was accused of corruption after moving to the opposition. She was replaced by her substitute, Carlos Flores, who is considered a “Chavista,” a follower of the socialist doctrine of Chavez.

National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello said Aranguren had been “elected with votes from Chavismo and her substitute is a Chavista.”

Top Comments

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  • Forgetit86

    Unfortunately Britards are in no position to pint out how supposedly undemocratic other countries are. Put your own house in order.

    Famous US Constitutional lawyer says of Britain's disregard for civil rights:
    “This is a country with a history of repressing press freedoms, that has no constitutional guarantee of a free press. I mean, they still have a queen. Is there anything more primitive and authoritarian than a fucking monarchy?”

    Nov 16th, 2013 - 07:38 am 0
  • Boovis

    I'd rather listen to the United Nations, AMnesty International, the Red Cross, Reporters without borders and other actual establised and respected sources who consistently place South American countries and Venezuela particularly as places where the restriction of the press, the destroying of civil liberties and the destruction of the environment are commonplace. If you can tell me why the Hispanic population of South America have any more right to be where there are than the White population of Africa, I would be damn surprised. When are you going to hand the land and governments back to the original inhabitants as has happened in Africa? Before you do this, I suggest you keep your mouth shut about civil liberties and constitutions.

    Nov 16th, 2013 - 08:06 am 0
  • inthegutter

    #1 Oh please. This “famous” lawyer can't be very clever if he doesn't know the fucking difference between a constitutional monarchy and an absolute monarchy. This lawyer just sounds like another pathetic anglophobe.

    Nov 16th, 2013 - 08:06 am 0
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