At the request of Attorney General Reinaldo Muñoz submitted last week, claiming that the legislative branch was violating the National Constitution by pronouncing the president politically responsible for his actions. The Venezuelan Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the National Assembly to drop its intentions to move forward with the impeachment of President Nicolás Maduro because it would be unconstitutional.
In Tuesday's ruling, the Supreme Court ordered the opposition to refrain from continuing the impeachment of Nicolás Maduro. This decision comes less than 24 hours after the head of the MUD coalition, Jesús Torrealba, announced that the majority of Congress would resume the process after the end of the truce they had agreed upon at the Vatican's request to encourage a process of dialogue with the government.
The supreme court ordered lawmakers to refrain from continuing the unconstitutional, null and non-existent political trial against the president ... as well as avoiding to dictate any type of act, whether in the form of an agreement or of any other type, that is outside of Their powers, said the ruling that was posted on the court's website.
Opposition deputy Henry Ramos Allup, chairman of the National Assembly, downplayed the ruling and published in his Twitter account and called the ruling fraudulent, for the Court can not give instructions to the legislature.
After the second meeting between the government and the opposition, Torrealba said that the truce had ended, because the Executive had not fulfilled its commitment to dialogue. The opposition had demanded the government to recognize Congress and respect its decisions, but late last week the Supreme Court overturned two laws and on Sunday Maduro extended an economic emergency decree that had been rejected by the Assembly.
The trial for alleged breach of constitutional duties had begun in October but was postponed earlier this month at the request of the Vatican, which acts as a mediator in the dialogue process. The proceedings will not involve the dismissal of Maduro because the legislature is not empowered by the Constitution to do so, but according to opposition deputy Juan Miguel Matheus, it will lead to sanction the president morally. Matheus ruled out that the court's decision would affect the process.
The reactivation of the trial could raise political tensions, which intensified in October after electoral and judicial authorities suspended the process of collecting signatures to trigger a recall referendum on Maduro's term. The coalition of the Bureau of Democratic Unity has raised the plebiscite as a way out of the crisis the South American country in going through with three-digit inflation, a severe shortage of food, medicines and other basic goods and an economic recession.
Maduro ruled out the referendum during this past weekend and said the next presidential election will be in 2018.
Deputy Diosdado Cabello, considered to be second only to Maduro within the Chavist-socialist ruling party, said that the opposition, grouped around the Democratic Unity Table (MUD) intends to impose on the country an agenda of anguish and sadness, while the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) proposes peace and joy.
Later on Tuesday there were rumours indicating that imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López could be released in the next 15 days. López, sentenced to almost 14 years in prison for his participation in the violent protests in early 2014, has spent just over one thousand days at the Ramo Verde military jailhouse. Lopez's release would follow an agreement between the government and the opposition after two rounds of negotiations, according to journalist Miguel Salazar. Other realeases are being considered by the Maduro regime at this point, it was reported. They are not political prisoners anymore; they are hostages, an angry citizen told the media.