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Outgoing National Assembly Creates “National Communal Parliament”

Caracas, December 16th 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) - In an unexpected move, Venezuela’s outgoing National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello created a new “National Communal Parliament” this past Tuesday. 

In one of the outgoing National Assembly’s last legislative sessions of 2015, the legislator for the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) stated that the new parliament would act to make the “people” chief decision makers in government. 

It is thought that the parliament will work as an adjunct body to the country’s National Assembly

“Now it's up to you in the National Communal Parliament, to discuss and present proposals that you consider necessary to help president Nicolas Maduro,” said Cabello to commune activists in the National Assembly. 

Details on the role, authority and composition of the parliament are thin on the ground, but it will most likely act to elevate the voices of the grassroots community governments known as the communal councils and communes in the Venezuelan legislature.

According to Cabello, it will act as a legislative platform for the “people to arrange resources, leadership, decision making, laws and…its way of life”.

“As long as I am the president of the National Assembly, which will be until the next 5 or 6th of January 2016… you may meet as much and however you like to discuss the proposals that you have. Sooner rather than later, power must truly rest where it must reside, with the people,” added the chief legislator. 

Article no. 58 of the Law of the Communes provides the legislative basis for different branches of government to create internal “additional Communal systems” with the purpose of advancing “self-government” from within the Venezuelan state.

Cabello framed the creation of the national communal parliament as a preemptive blow to the opposition coalition the Roundtable of Democratic Unity, which will take a 2/3 majority in the National Assembly on January 5th 2016. 

The 112 incoming rightwing legislators affiliated to the bloc were elected to the chief legislative body on December 6th and are expected to attempt to roll back significant laws implemented by the Bolivarian Revolution.

“Now we have a parliament at the service of the bourgeoisie, we will hear nothing about attending to the needs of the people,” said Cabello.

In the past ten years, several laws such as the Law of the Communal Councils, the Law of Popular Power and the Law of the Communes have all been passed with the intention of solidifying a “participatory” democracy in Venezuela and opening up its government to input from grassroots organisations.

Nonetheless Cabello said that these laws were “not enough”.

“Enough is only when the people truly have power,” he stated. 

Cabello said that the creation of the parliament would help to shield the country’s Laws of Popular Power from rightwing attempts to rescind them in the New National Assembly. 

Nonetheless, several MUD spokespeople such as rightwing hardliner Maria Corina Machado have blasted the move as a “state coup” and as an attempt to create a “parallel” institution to the National Assembly.

It is unknown whether opposition legislators will attempt to eliminate the body when they take office on January 5th.

Published on Dec 16th 2015 at 8.04pm