Caracas, January 13, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly agreed Tuesday to recognize a Supreme Court (TSJ) ruling temporarily suspending four representatives from Amazonas state pending investigation into alleged electoral irregularities.
The decision was reached following a meeting between National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup and socialist parliamentarian and first combatant Cilia Flores, leading to the resignation of the three opposition legislators from Amazonas state sworn in last week in violation of the high court order.
Earlier in the week, the TSJ issued a second ruling declaring all actions by the parliament “absolutely null” so long as the suspended deputies remain seated.
Tuesday’s agreement nonetheless opens the door to a new dispute regarding the composition of the National Assembly.
With the unseating of the suspended deputies, National Assembly President Ramos Allup argues, “The chamber would reduce from 167 to 164 [members], the quorum gets smaller and we [the Democratic Unity Roundtable] maintain the two-thirds majority.”
Socialist congressman Pedro Carreño, on the other hand, has assured that the National Assembly must maintain its 167 seats and that it is impossible to reduce the number of representatives.
For his part, the opposition Governor of Amazonas State, Liborio Guarulla, introduced a document against the decision made by the Supreme Court, which he claims, “has practically eliminated a federal state that represents 20% of the country’s territory.”
The TSJ has, however, yet to issue any official statement regarding the future composition of the country’s chief legislature.
Opposition Introduces Law to Privatize Housing Mission
Deputy leader of the Democratic Unity Roundtable Julio Borges introduced a law which would hand over the property deeds of the over 1 million homes constructed by the Great Venezuelan Housing Mission (GMVV) to the residents, who currently retain a permanent lease that cannot be transferred or sold.
According to Borges, private ownership would generate jobs and assure a faster construction, ensuring the “democratization of property”.
“We believe in a Venezuela of property owners” added opposition lawmaker Delsa Solorzano.
Ricardo Molina, ex-minister for Housing and Habitat, declared that the proposed law “is founded on ignorance or manipulation,” given that articles 9 and 13 of the Law of Property allow the families, if they have the need or the wish, to sell their house.“That means the house is property of the family,” he explained.
The ex-minister further emphasized that the existing law prevents the houses build by the GMVV from entering into the speculative private market, which he claims is the actual aim of the opposition legislation to be debated next week.
As the flagship social initiative of socialist President Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chávez, the GMVV has handed over one million houses to Venezuelan families since its founding in 2011.
The housing mission expanded an emergency shelter program implemented in 2010 to help those who lost their homes in devastating floods. The program has prioritized providing low-cost housing to poor families.