Amazonas Legislators Resign After Dialogue with Bolivarian Government

Three Amazonas legislators accused of electoral fraud in December 2015’s congressional elections stepped down Tuesday after months of defying the Venezuelan Supreme Court. 

By Jeanette Charles
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MUD Amazonas legislators Romel Guzamana (L), Julio Ygarza (2nd R), Nirma Guarulla (R), and Amazonas state governor Liborio Guarulla (2nd L) in January 2016 (Reuters).
MUD Amazonas legislators Romel Guzamana (L), Julio Ygarza (2nd R), Nirma Guarulla (R), and Amazonas state governor Liborio Guarulla (2nd L) in January 2016 (Reuters).

Caracas, November 16, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) requested Tuesday the disincorporation of three Amazonas legislators accused of electoral fraud in December 2015's legislative elections. Julio Ygarza, Nirma Guarulla and Romel Guzamana submitted their resignations Tuesday to the National Assembly.

In January, the Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ) suspended the swearing in of all four legislators from Amazonas state, including one socialist party lawmaker, pending investigations into irregularites. 

However, in August the high court declared the MUD-held parliament null in all of its actions after the latter defied the ruling and unilaterally reincorporated the three opposition deputies. 

Legislators from the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) expressed cautious optimism that the move signalled greater willingness on the part of the National Assembly to cooperate with the other branches of government. 

“We hope that this means a change in attitude, and that they [the opposition] leave behind their contemptful attitude toward the Constitution and assume responsible leadership," declared Hector Rodriguez, leader of the socialist parliamentary bloc. 

President Nicolás Maduro echoed similar sentiments during his new salsa radio show stating, “The process begins for the National Assembly to respect the Supreme Court, respect the Constitution, meaning that there will be elections in Amazonas (state) very soon."

According to Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, the opposition head of the National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, accepted the written notification without further comment and moved the legislative session forward to discuss other agenda items.

However, the ultra-right Popular Will (VP) party aired its dissatisfaction with the decision via social media on Tuesday. “For Popular Will, we respect the decision of these three legislators, but we express our disagreement,” read VP’s official tweet.

Former MUD presidential candidate Henrique Capriles likewise blasted the move, calling the TSJ ruling "null" and suggesting that "no one has to obey it". 

In recent weeks, VP and 14 other opposition parties, known as the G15, have been at loggerheads with top MUD leaders over the latter's decision to enter into Vatican-mediated talks with the Maduro government. 

The G15 has rejected the other parties' agreements the government, including the resignation of the Amazonas deputies, the cancelling of a high-profile march on Miraflores palace, as well as the acknowledgement of the existence of an economic war against the government, calling instead for Maduro's immediate ouster.