Tumultuous times

Tumultuous times

Venezuela has been in crisis for months, with almost daily anti-government protests sweeping through the country. But events have been moving even faster since a controversial constituent assembly was sworn in on 4 August. Here, we take a look back at what has happened since and what it may mean.


Ms Ortega has been a thorn in the side of the government since the end of March, when she openly criticised the Supreme Court for its ruling stripping the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its powers.

She has also denounced the constituent assembly as unconstitutional and publicly contradicted versions given by government officials about how protester Juan Pablo Pernalete was killed.

The fact that the decision to remove her from office was unanimous suggests that the members of the constituent assembly are closely aligned with the government.

It also suggests that the new assembly sees its duties as much more far reaching than just rewriting the constitution.

Allies of President Maduro had said in the days before that Ms Ortega would not be in her post much longer.

Opposition leaders fear that the fact that the constituent assembly acted so quickly to sack Ms Ortega means they will also vote in favour of other measures government officials have threatened, such as lifting legislators' immunity from prosecution.

Ms Ortega, however, has refused to recognise the decision by the constituent assembly, which she says is illegal, and insists she continues to be Venezuela's chief prosecutor.

There is likely to be a stand-off between Ms Ortega and the newly-named chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab.

Meanwhile, influential politicians allied with the government have called for her to stand trial and the Supreme Court is currently weighing up whether there are grounds to charge her for allegedly "violating public ethics".

When the constituent assembly first met on Saturday, the influential deputy leader of the governing socialist party, Diosdado Cabello, suggested it should meet for two years rather than six months as originally planned.

Tumultuous times

To rapturous applause, his proposal to modify the rules extending the period that the assembly will meet was accepted.

The constituent assembly has more powers than any other body in Venezuela.

While a constituent assembly is normally created to rewrite an existing constitution or draft a new one, this assembly has already shown that it sees its powers as being much wider, such as sacking the chief prosecutor.

The constituent assembly and its president, Delcy Rodriguez, will therefore play a key role in Venezuelan politics.

It is already meeting in the legislative palace and critics fear it wants to replace the existing legislative branch, which also meets in the same building.

As the opposition did not field any candidates, the constituent assembly is dominated by government loyalists who showed their allegiance by waving pictures of former President Hugo Chavez at their inauguration.

While international leaders have said that they will not recognise the new assembly, its president does not seem bothered by the criticism from abroad, swearing to "defend the homeland from the imperial aggression and the fascist right wing".



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Bill Gates reduces Microsoft stake with $4.6bn donation

Bill Gates reduces Microsoft stake with $4.6bn donation..

16-Aug, 03:40

Bill Gates has given away $4.6bn (?3.6bn) to charity in his largest...

Bath murder: Two charged after death of Tashan Corpe

Bath murder: Two charged after death of Tashan Corpe..

16-Aug, 03:10

Two people have been charged after a man was stabbed to death in his...

Love Islandís Olivia Attwood 'fakes' cosy night in with boyfriend Chris Hughes and plastic doll Cash Hughes?

Love Islandís Olivia Attwood 'fakes' cosy night in with boyfriend Chris Hughes and plastic..

16-Aug, 10:00

The pair are both clad in onesies, with Olivia hinting that they were...

Cartoonist illustrates Trump tweets, book hits Amazon top 10

Cartoonist illustrates Trump tweets, book hits Amazon top 10..

15-Aug, 22:30

A cartoonist hoping to provide a better understanding of ďthe mind we...

Saudi Arabia and UAE pledge $100M to women's fund Ivanka Trump supports

Saudi Arabia and UAE pledge $100M to women's fund Ivanka Trump supports..

22-May, 18:56

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged to give a total of...

Romanian court rules release of woman wanted in Turkey

Romanian court rules release of woman wanted in Turkey..

25-Jul, 05:40

Romania's Supreme Court has upheld a decision to release from custody a...

'This is a democracy': Int'l court may be next for Duterte

'This is a democracy': Int'l court may be next for Duterte..

16-May, 01:39

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged Tuesday that...

Dutch to try suspects in Malaysia flight downed in Ukraine

Dutch to try suspects in Malaysia flight downed in Ukraine..

05-Jul, 04:24

The Dutch government says any suspects in the downing of Malaysia...