Venezuela to shut all-powerful National Constituent Assembly

Maduro said the assembly, a pro-gov’t legislature created in 2017, will cease operations by the end of the year.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks at the closing session of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly in Caracas [Handout via Reuters]

Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, a pro-government legislature created in 2017 that was widely criticised for undermining democracy, will cease operations by the end of the year.

President Nicolas Maduro said the assembly, known as the ANC, is no longer necessary following December 6 elections that will usher in a new parliament dominated by ruling Socialist Party legislators.

The current parliament’s term ends on January 5.

Maduro in 2017 called for the creation of the ANC following months of opposition protests that left more than 100 people dead.

The all-powerful institution was officially designated to reform the constitution, but in practice ended up supplanting the opposition-controlled legislature and sacking public officials who challenged the government.

“The main objective of this National Constituent Assembly was to restore the peace of the republic, internal security, national union and the stability of the country,” Maduro said in a ceremonial session on Friday. “And today I can say, National Constituent Assembly, mission accomplished.”

The opposition boycotted the election that created the ANC. The United States and Europe called it the consolidation of a dictatorship and a disavowal of the democratically elected legislature.

Despite being in existence for three years, the ANC did not reform the constitution.

Instead, it legislated a raft of measures including an anti-hate law widely used to jail government critics, stripped a group of opposition legislators of parliamentary immunity and sacked former Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega, who had fallen out with Maduro.

Source: Reuters