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Venezuelan opposition threatens to remove justices after parliament dissolution threat

By
Andrew V. Pestano
Henry Ramos Allup, president of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly, said the parliament he leads would begin efforts to revoke the unconstitutional appointment of 12 justices of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. His comment follows a threat to dissolve parliament by the ruling government of President Nicolas Maduro. Photo courtesy of National Assembly
Henry Ramos Allup, president of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly, said the parliament he leads would begin efforts to revoke the "unconstitutional" appointment of 12 justices of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. His comment follows a threat to dissolve parliament by the ruling government of President Nicolas Maduro. Photo courtesy of National Assembly

CARACAS, Venezuela, June 29 (UPI) -- Venezuela's National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup has threatened remove 12 justices of the high court after President Nicolas Maduro's ruling government threatened to dissolve parliament.

Allup said the opposition-controlled National Assembly will begin efforts next week to revoke the "unconstitutional" appointment of 12 justices with the goal of appointing new justices for the positions on Venezuela's highest court, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.

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Allup said the Supreme Tribunal of Justice met early Tuesday to discuss the "developing" plot against parliament. The unicameral National Assembly was won with a qualified majority, or supermajority, by the Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD, opposition coalition in December parliamentary elections.

On Tuesday, Didalco Bolívar, a spokesman for the coalition of Maduro's ruling government, said there is an ongoing "discussion to request consultation with the Supreme Tribunal of Justice" in order to ask for "the abolition of the National Assembly."

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Bolívar accused the opposition-controlled National Assembly of usurping government functions in domestic and foreign affairs, referencing its involvement in the recent meetings by the Organization of American States about Venezuela.

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The OAS held meetings over Venezuela's alleged erosion of democracy that is partly attributed to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, which has been repeatedly criticized as acting as an extension of the socialist regime established under former President Hugo Chavez.

The MUD has been working to hold a recall referendum that would ask citizens if Maduro should be removed from power.

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Bolívar, former governor of Venezuela's Aragua state, said parliament's actions are treasonous and unconstitutional.

"We ask that the abolition will be accompanied by the call for parliamentary elections, so it will be for the people to say" if the "obstructionist" National Assembly that is "violating the constitution" should continue to operate, Bolívar said.

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