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Venezuela court: Nicolas Maduro doesn't have to present budget to parliament

By Andrew V. Pestano
Venezuela court: Nicolas Maduro doesn't have to present budget to parliament
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro does not have to present his 2017 national budget to the opposition-controlled National Assembly legislature, the South American country's highest court ruled late Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Maduro

CARACAS, Venezuela, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Venezuela's highest court ruled President Nicolas Maduro can sidestep presenting his 2017 budget to the opposition-controlled parliament.

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice ruled Tuesday that Maduro can present the national budget to the Constitutional Hall of the tribunal, or TSJ -- citing the decision was made to "maintain the function of the state."

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"Faced with the urgent need to complete the stage ... of the national budget, with the duty to honor the principles of separation and balance of powers ... and in order to maintain the function of the state, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice declares" that Maduro can present the budget to the Constitutional Hall, the TSJ wrote in a statement.

The TSJ also said the decision was based on an economic crisis decree issued by Maduro, as well as over the "voluntary contempt maintained" by the Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD, opposition coalition, which has a majority control of the unicameral National Assembly.

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Since assuming control of parliament after December elections, the opposition has had several measures struck down by the TSJ, which is accused of working in favor of Maduro's socialist regime.

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The TSJ's ruling has been criticized by the opposition as an reckless decision in favor of Maduro.

"The TSJ does not have the legal competency, technical capacity, nor the legitimacy to debate the national budget," MUD leader Jesus "Chuo" Torrealba said in a video he shared on social media. "Who the heck is the TSJ to debate the national budget? What technical resources do they have, what technical commissions do they have to discuss, to analyze, to process the budget law of 2017?"

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"The TSJ's Constitutional Hall is a place that will say 'Amen' to what the government wants, what the government says," Torrealba added.

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