Venezuelan Supreme Court Blocks Swearing-In of Amazonas Legislators

Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) declared unconstitutional Monday a move by the opposition-led National Assembly to swear-in three lawmakers from Amazonas state, citing ongoing investigations into voter fraud.

By Lucas Koerner
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Venezuela’s Supreme Court blocked the swearing-in of three legislators from Amazonas state. (TSJ)
Venezuela’s Supreme Court blocked the swearing-in of three legislators from Amazonas state. (TSJ)

Caracas, August 3, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) declared unconstitutional Monday a move by the opposition-led National Assembly to swear-in three lawmakers from Amazonas state, citing ongoing investigations into voter fraud.

On December 30, the high court temporarily suspended the swearing-in of all legislators elected in the southeastern state pending official inquiries into allegations of vote buying and other irregularities reported during the December 6 parliamentary elections.

Accusing the TSJ of deliberately stalling the investigation in order to deny the MUD right-wing opposition coalition a two-thirds super majority, the National Assembly (AN) swore in Julio Ygarza, Nirma Guarulla, and Romel Guzamana on July 28.

In its ruling, the TSJ branded the move a “flagrant violation of the public constitutional order”, adding that all activity undertaken by the AN will be invalid until the legislators in question are dismissed. 

On Sunday, the judicial body revealed that the investigations into the electoral irregularities remain underway as evidence is still being collected. 

The AN leadership, for its part, rejected the TSJ decision as a “grave violation of the right to participation and political representation”, urging the high court to suspend its injunction and permit the incorporation of the legislators.

The conflict is the latest in an ongoing standoff between the legislative and judicial branches of government that erupted following the MUD’s landslide electoral victory in December.

In January, the opposition-controlled AN likewise defied the TSJ injunction and swore in the three legislators, only to subsequently back down pending the outcome of the investigation.