Venezuela Pro-Maduro Legislature to Assess Early Congress Elections

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Venezuela’s pro-government legislature on Monday agreed to create a commission to evaluate holding 2020 legislative elections early, which would create an opportunity for the government to reclaim control of the opposition-dominated congress.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido warned on Sunday that the Constituent Assembly would decide on Monday to disband the congress he leads and move up elections after President Nicolas Maduro called for a new “offensive.”

Instead, the Constituent Assembly’s head, Diosdado Cabello, downplayed Guaido’s comments and said there was no need to disband congress as it “didn’t work” and “had eliminated itself on its own.”

Any move to disband congress would fuel criticism of Maduro in the international community and almost certainly halt Norway-brokered talks between the government and Guaido allies meant to reach a negotiated solution to Venezuela’s political stalemate.

Cabello said the commission would evaluate “in accordance with the law, the constitution and the political situation” when would be the best moment for the legislative elections.

In a warning directed at opposition lawmakers, Cabello said: “Don’t go on vacation because we are going to make life impossible for you over the next month.”

FILE – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country’s rightful interim ruler, gestures as he speaks during a session of Venezuela’s National Assembly at a public square in Caracas, July 23, 2019.

Guaido invoked the constitution in January to assume a rival presidency, saying Maduro’s 2018 re-election was fraudulent. He has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the United States, as Venezuela’s legitimate president.

Maduro said on Saturday that Guaido will face justice for supporting the most recent round of U.S. sanctions, which block all commercial transactions with Venezuela’s government and freeze its assets in the United States.

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