Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro calls for new constitution

Latin America

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro calls for new consitution

Venezuela’s President plans to hold a national vote to create a new assembly. The assembly could re-write the constitution.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas has more from Caracas.

Follow Juan Carlos Rivas Lamas on Twitter @JuanRivasLamas

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro calls for new consitution

Venezuela's President plans to hold a national vote to create a new assembly. The assembly could re-write the constitution. CGTN's Juan Carlos Lamas has more from Caracas.

President Maduro has said that according to the Venezuelan constitution, he has the authority to dissolve the National Assembly. The president will send the Electoral Council conditions for the election of the constituents of that assembly, whose members will participate in writing a new constitution.

Maduro indicated there will be about 500 members elected by direct vote. It is unclear how much time this will take, but it would put a hold on all elections in Venezuela. This would include the overdue gubernatorial contest and the presidential election, now scheduled for late next year.

The president of the National Parliament, Julio Borges, said the call for a new constitution represents the continuation and consolidation of a coup in Venezuela.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles is urging people to take to the streets to protest. He said the Venezuelan government is fighting to keep Maduro’s government and the president himself in power.

The opposition has been demanding general elections for more than a year. It blames President Maduro for skyrocketing inflation and the shortage of basic goods, including food, medicine and water. Maduro has blamed the current situation in Venezuela on a right-wing international conspiracy.

Maduro addressed a May Day rally of pro-government supporters in downtown Caracas, telling them he does not want a civil war. Meanwhile, his security forces fired tear gas at opposition protesters who threw rocks at security forces blocking their march downtown.