The court said the opposition-controlled National Assembly’s decision to extend his term was invalid, paving the way for allies of President Nicolas Maduro to take over next month.
Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that the opposition-controlled National Assembly’s decision to extend his term for another year was invalid, paving the way for allies of President Nicolas Maduro to take over next month.
The National Assembly, currently overseen by opposition leader Juan Guaido, declared parliamentary elections on December 6 in which allies of Maduro’s ruling socialists won a majority as “illegitimate” and voted last week to extend his term.
Venezuela’s opposition parties boycotted the vote on the grounds that they would not be free and fair. Maduro, who calls Guaido a US-backed puppet seeking to impeach him in a coup, said electoral conditions were as transparent as when the opposition won a majority in parliament in 2015.
The sentence said Wednesday that any action taken by current lawmakers “with the aim of perpetuating, extending or maintaining their status as legislators of the National Assembly” would be “devoid of judicial validity and effect.”
The term of the current parliament ends on January 5.
Parliament’s decision to extend his term came as dozens of lawmakers facing criminal investigation for suspected crimes like treason fled the country. Others have expressed their refusal to continue serving in Congress because of what they describe as government persecution.
Maduro, who enjoys military backing, accuses lawmakers of backing US sanctions and scoffs at the idea that they would extend their tenure beyond Jan.5.
“For Guaido, continuing to say he is president would be a terrible cartoon that produces more shame than laughter,” Maduro said in an interview on public television.
Opposition leader Guaido is recognized by dozens of Western democracies who have questioned the legitimacy of Maduro’s 2018 re-election vote as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, due to his position as President of the National Assembly .
Washington said it would maintain its support for Guaido after the parliamentary vote, which he disowned.
Meanwhile, many Venezuelans continue to struggle with basic needs such as electricity, security and food, and have expressed weariness with the country’s politicians, who they say have done nothing to stem declining living conditions.