Al Jazeera has reported that Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has sworn in a controversial new Constituent Assembly that has the power to rewrite the constitution, despite massive protests and state prosecutors vowing to block it.
The 545-member assembly, including Maduro’s wife and son, held its inaugural session under tight security in the capital Caracas on Friday.
Delcy Rodriguez, Venezuela’s former foreign minister, was nominated the president of the disputed body, which was elected on Sunday in a vote boycotted by the opposition and allegedly marred by voter fraud.
Al Jazeera’s John Holman, reporting from Caracas, said: “The superbody will hold a lot of power over not just the opposition, but 40 countries around the world are worried about the democratic consequences on Venezuela of having this superpower of the Constituent Assembly.”
Earlier, the Vatican urged the Venezuelan government to “avoid or suspend” its new legislative superbody.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Vatican said “initiatives such the new Constituent Assembly instead of fostering reconciliation and peace, foment a climate of tension”.
The Vatican also called on the security forces to refrain from using “excessive and disproportionate force” amid protests.
Hours before the inauguration, Venezuela’s intelligence services transferred prominent opposition leader Antonio Ledezma from jail back to house arrest, his family said.
On Tuesday, security forces forcibly entered Ledezma’s apartment before dawn and took him to a military prison.
Adapted From Al Jazeera