Puebla, Mexico, March 18, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s highest court approved Thursday an extension to President Nicolas Maduro’s decree powers, despite opposition from the country’s legislators.
The Supreme Court of Venezuela (TSJ) said in a statement Maduro’s request for 60 more days of special powers was constitutional, effectively paving the way for the president to pass economic legislation without the right-wing National Assembly (AN) for another two months.
Under the decree powers, Maduro can bypass the AN when legislating on issues linked to what he has described an “economic emergency.”
However, the move has sparked a power stand-off between legislators, the TSJ and the president. Previous rounds of decree powers have generally been approved by the AN.
The right-wing controlled AN has condemned the renewal of the current decree powers, accusing the government of “lacking justification.”
The TSJ first approved Maduro’s current decree powers in February, after the AN had already sought to veto the measure.
At the time, the TSJ argued Maduro’s proposed measures were “proportional, pertinent, useful and necessary” for the state to fulfil its constitutional social obligations, given the extent of the country’s economic crisis.
Maduro has vowed to use his extended powers to stabilise the country’s economy, which has faced a severe downturn amid low oil prices.
Venezuela’s economy contracted 7.1 percent between third quarter 2014 and 2015.