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Venezuelan National Assembly Approves New Supreme Court Magistrates and Historic Grassroots Seed Law

Caracas, December 23, 2015 ( –This Wednesday, Venezuela’s outgoing National Assembly approved 13 judges to the Supreme Court and passed the long-awaited “Anti-GMO and Anti-Patenting Seed Law”. 

Both were approved with a simple majority of PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) legislators in the National Assembly

The project for a seed law was submitted to parliament as part of an ongoing grassroots campaign by environmental and campesino social movements over the past two years.  

The legislation will effectively outlaw the use of genetically modified organisms in the country as well as ban putting a private patent on seeds. 

Groups involved in drafting the legislation have called the National Assembly’s move a “another grassroots victory for the Venezuelan people, a contribution to the struggle of all peoples against agro-business."

The outgoing PSUV bloc, which will be replaced by majority opposition incoming legislators on January 5th, also appointed 13 new judges to the Supreme Court– replacing outgoing judges whose 12 year term had expired. 

The opposition coalition, the Roundtable of Democratic Unity, called the approval of the slew of new legislation “unconstitutional” and vowed to “reestablish order and the Constitution in the new year”. 

“The effects of this session are invalid,” said MUD legislator, Alfonso Marquina. 

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the outgoing parliament can pass legislation up until January 5th. 

Amendments were also made to the Public Defender's Law. Two articles were added to the legislation (15 and 16) specifying under what circumstances the country's chief attorney might be dismissed.  

The National Assembly is also expected to pass the “Humanised Birthing Law” over the next few days.  

The potential law– which legislates for improved care during pregnancy and labour– is also a legal project that has been submitted to the National Assembly by women's and feminist organisations.

Published on Dec 23rd 2015 at 7.45pm