Venezuelan government evaluates sending lawmakers back to opposition assembly

Venezuelan government evaluates sending lawmakers back to opposition assembly

Venezuela's Communications and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez
FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's Communications and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez. (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado)

CARACAS: Venezuela's government said on Monday (Sep 16) it was evaluating sending some of its lawmakers back to the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which President Nicolas Maduro has called an illegal institution, as part of new talks with one opposition faction.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez also said the government would reform the national electoral commission, which the opposition and Western observers have denounced as biased as it oversaw a 2018 election they claim was rigged and that Maduro won. Rodriguez gave no details about these possible changes.

The agreement was made with a different sector of the opposition than that led by US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, the head of the National Assembly congress who invoked the constitution to assume a rival presidency in January.

The announcement comes after Guaido on Sunday announced negotiations between the opposition and government mediated by Norway "had been exhausted" after the Maduro administration withdrew delegates in August following a tightening of US sanctions.

"We have not closed any door to any initiative to resolve among Venezuelans the issues that concern us," Rodriguez said. "We have reached agreement on some issues and have a working agenda on others."

As part of the agreement, the government said lawmakers would return to the National Assembly for the first time since 2017, when Maduro declared the body illegitimate and created a parallel legislature called the National Constituent Assembly to override opposition delegates' decisions.

However, a draft proposal document, seen by Reuters, did not propose eliminating the Constituent Assembly, but rather for there to be a "balance of both powers."

Maduro, who retains control of the state and military, derides Guaido as a US-controlled puppet who is seeking to foment a coup. Most Western nations recognise Guaido as Venezuela's rightful head of state.

Source: Reuters