Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a news conference on December 8 2020. Picture: REUTERS/MANAURE QUINTERO
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a news conference on December 8 2020. Picture: REUTERS/MANAURE QUINTERO

Caracas — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will install a new National Assembly filled with regime loyalists on Tuesday, consolidating his power over key institutions in the crisis-torn nation despite mounting US sanctions.

In a ceremony scheduled to start late in the morning in Caracas, 277 legislators will be sworn in — most of them from the ruling socialist party, including the president’s son Nicolas Maduro Guerra and his wife Cilia Flores.

Since taking over from the late Hugo Chavez in 2013, Maduro has resisted efforts to force him out, presiding over a precipitous deterioration of the oil-rich country. The US and more than 50 countries recognised the opposition’s Juan Guaido as interim leader in early 2019, when he took the helm of the previous National Assembly controlled by Maduro opponents. His claim was based on alleged vacancy in the presidency due to elections deemed fraudulent in 2018.

While Guaido retains international support publicly, his stance has gradually weakened as the showdown with Maduro drags on and as more opposition politicians are forced into exile, jailed or legally sidelined. After boycotting the National Assembly election in December, Guaido insisted that he was the democratic leader of Venezuela and planned to install a competing legislative body on Tuesday as well.

Bloomberg 

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