Venezuela’s Legislature Approves Emergency Sessions for “Mother of Laws”

Venezuela’s National Assembly approved a resolution yesterday, according to which the legislature would declare emergency sessions for the approval of an “enabling law,” which will allow President Chavez to pass law-decrees on specific issues in the next 18 months.

By Venezuelanalysis.com
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Caracas, January 17, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Venezuela’s National Assembly approved a resolution yesterday, according to which the legislature would declare emergency sessions for the approval of an “enabling law,” which will allow President Chavez to pass law-decrees on specific issues in the next 18 months. The National Assembly (AN) will begin deliberations on the law tomorrow.

Chavez had asked the AN for an “enabling law,” during his swearing-in ceremony last week, saying that such a law is necessary to accelerate the process of creating 21st century socialism in Venezuela. Chavez presented the AN with the proposed law last Saturday.

The proposed law, for which there is express permission in Article 203 of Venezuela’s 1999 constitution, would allow Chavez to pass decrees that have the legal standing of laws in ten different areas. The last time Chavez was allowed to make use of this provision was in 2001, when he passed 49 law-decrees. Previous presidents, such as Carlos Andrés Perez in 1976, were also given temporary authority for such laws.

The ten areas in which Chavez will be allowed to legislate are:

  1. Transformation of the institutions of the state. Chavez would be allowed to change state institutions so that these become more efficient, include greater citizen participation, and are more transparent.
  2. Popular participation. Here the President would be allowed to develop norms that enable citizen participation in public oversight. Also part of this is the “enabling of the direct exercise of popular sovereignty.” Exactly what is meant by this has so far not been explained.
  3. Establishing norms for the eradication of corruption. This would also involve changing the civil service system.
  4. The creation of norms for adopting existing legislation to the construction of a new social and economic model, in order to achieve equality and equitable distribution of wealth, under “the ideals of social justice and economic independence.”
  5. Finances and tax collection. The development of norms to modernize monetary, banking, insurance, and tax sectors.
  6. Citizen and judiciary security. The development of norms for updating the systems of public health, citizen security, prisons, identification, migration, and judiciary.
  7. Science and technology. Norms for the development of science and technology to satisfy the needs of education, health, environment, biodiversity, industrialization, quality of life, and defense.
  8. Territorial order. Norms that establish a new territorial organization on the sub-national level, so as to optimize state action.
  9. Security and defense. Norms for enabling the co-responsibility of state and organized communities by establishing a new functioning of the institutions of security and defense of the nation.
  10. Infrastructure, transport, and services. Norms that support the use of the human and industrial potential and the existing infrastructure to improve transport systems, public services, home construction, and telecommunications, among others.
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