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  World   Americas  02 May 2017  Venezuela's Maduro calls for new constitution by 'people's' body

Venezuela's Maduro calls for new constitution by 'people's' body

AFP
Published : May 2, 2017, 10:11 am IST
Updated : May 2, 2017, 10:11 am IST

Venezuela is in the grip of more than a month of near-daily protests against Maduro marked by violence that has killed nearly 30 people.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro (Photo: AP)
 Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro (Photo: AP)

Caracas: Venezuela's beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro on Monday called for a new constitution, to be written by a "people's" body circumventing the opposition-held Congress.

The decree was to "block the fascist coup" threatening the country, he told thousands of supporters in Caracas at a May Day rally.

The new constitution-writing entity would be "a citizen's constituent body, not from political parties -- a people's constituent body," he said.

Maduro's move mirrored that of his late Socialist predecessor Hugo Chavez, who in 1999 had a Constituent Assembly of various representatives draw up Venezuela's current constitution. The text was overwhelmingly passed by a referendum.

Venezuela is in the grip of more than a month of near-daily protests against Maduro marked by violence that has killed nearly 30 people.

The unrest is fuelled by an economic collapse in the oil-producing nation that has caused shortages of food and medicine.

Maduro says the country is being roiled as part of a US-led capitalist plot.

The opposition says Maduro, backed by the military, is ruling in an increasingly dictatorial fashion and only early elections can provide a solution.

The street demonstrations surged from April 1 after the Supreme Court tried to strengthen Maduro's grip on power by stripping authority from the Congress.

Maduro has rejected opposition calls for general elections before his term ends late next year. He has rejected what he calls international interference in his country's affairs.

Venezuela last week said it was quitting the Organization of American States after it and other international bodies expressed concern about the country's adherence to democracy.

Another regional bloc, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is to hold an extraordinary meeting on Venezuela in El Salvador on Tuesday.

Tags: nicolas maduro, may day rally, constituent assembly
Location: Venezuela, Distrito Federal, Caracas