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  • Henry Ramos Allup was nearly alone in the National Assembly Tuesday.

    Henry Ramos Allup was nearly alone in the National Assembly Tuesday. | Photo: AFP

Published 12 January 2016

Assembly speaker Henry Ramos Allup said the legislature lacked enough members present to be valid.

Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly suspended its session Tuesday, as the country’s new legislature continued to be plagued by chaos.

National Assembly president, Henry Ramos Allup, told the few who attended the chamber that the parliament lacked a quorum—enough lawmakers present to make the session valid.

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The mass desertion came the day after Venezuela’s Supreme Court declared that any decisions made by parliament would be nulled due to the swearing in of three opposition legislators who have been suspended pending an investigation into electoral irregularities in the state of Amazonas.

Former speaker Diosdado Cabello, a key figure of the socialist alliance PSUV, told reporters outside the assembly building in Caracas that the quorum was not his party’s fault, and that it was a further ploy of the opposition to undermine the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“It is not our fault that there is no session, the opposition party has the majority in the National Assembly, we are not blaming ourselves. They ignore the state powers, made up of five powers. One power cannot prevail above another,” he said.

The MUD won a two-thirds supermajority in the Dec. 6 elections, granting it powers to make sweeping changes, including overhauling the constitution and calling a recall referendum on the presidency of President Nicolas Maduro.

But on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the opposition violated the constitution by swearing in three lawmakers while they were banned as allegations of vote-buying were being investigated.

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It ruled that any decision made by the parliament would be void.

According to Ultimas Noticias, this means that so far four National Assembly decisions have been nulled: the swearing in of the three Amazonas deputies; an agreement to allow the entry of media into the legislative palace; the order to remove all pictures of Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez from the legislative palace; and the creation of an investigative commission into the magistrates of the Supreme Court.

Monday’s quorum marks another chapter of the disorder of the National Assembly: on its first day, all PSUV legislators walked out when Ramos Allup turned off some of their microphones while they were talking.

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