Puebla, Mexico, March 31, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s Supreme Court has violated the country’s constitution, Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz warned Friday.
In a surprise announcement, Ortega said she had identified “several violations of the constitutional order” in the Supreme Court’s (TSJ) controversial decision to assume temporary legislative power.
The TSJ issued the ruling late Wednesday, after stating the country’s parliament, the National Assembly (AN), remained in contempt of previous court rulings. Those rulings included the court’s order for a group of legislators to be officially removed from office over allegations of electoral fraud.
Under the court’s decision, judges would effectively replace the parliament, and be able to pass legislation without parliamentary approval.
In her comments on Friday, Ortega conceded the dispute between the AN and TSJ is complex.
“There is an institutional struggle in the country that complicates the goals of the state,” she said.
However, she dismissed the TSJ’s claims that it had acted in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution.
“I consider it an unavoidable historical duty – not only in my capacity as attorney general … but also as a citizen of this country – to refer to the recent decisions signed … by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice. These judgements show several violations of the constitutional order and ignorance of the model of state enshrined in the constitution of the republic,” she said.
She added, “It is my obligation to express to the country my serious concern.”
Ortega continued by calling for political dialogue between the TSJ, President Nicolas Maduro and the AN.
“On behalf of nearly 10,000 civil servants … we call for reflection and that democratic paths are taken, and … an environment of respect and rescue of plurality, for democratic debate, and respect for [political] differences; to achieve institutional paths that guarantee peace and overcome the obstacles that currently prevent us from providing the quality of life that our population requires,” she said.
Venezuela has been in a state of political deadlock for over a year. The right-wing opposition controls the AN, and has accused Maduro of using the TSJ to nerf legislation. Maduro has warned the opposition seeks to roll back over a decade of social programs aimed at reducing poverty.
UPDATE 13:15: Neither the TSJ or Maduro have responded to Ortega’s comments. However, former attorney general Isaias Rodriguez has disputed Ortega’s conclusions. Speaking to state broadcaster VTV, Rodriguez said the TSJ’s decision is justified under articles 335 and 336 of the constitution.