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Venezuela's Maduro poised to get decree powers - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro raises his fist during a rally in Caracas on November 12, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro raises his fist during a rally in Caracas on November 12, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ)

Caracas, AP—Venezuela’s National Assembly on Tuesday stripped an opposition lawmaker of her immunity from prosecution in a case of alleged corruption, clearing the way for the legislature to grant the president special power to enact laws by decree.

President Nicolás Maduro has said he will use the extra authority to intensify actions against opponents and businesses that he says are waging “economic war” trying to destabilize the South American country.

As a result of the assembly’s vote, which was widely expected, lawmaker Maria Aranguren will have to step down while she faces prosecution on what she says are trumped up embezzlement charges.

Aranguren, who broke with the late President Hugo Chavez’s government in 2012, will be replaced by a lawmaker more in line with the government’s wishes, likely giving the president the crucial 99th vote he needs to ensure passage of the decree powers.

Maduro last week deployed troops to take over several appliance stores nationwide and slash prices that have soared in recent weeks as inflation heated up to an annual rate of 54 percent. At a pro-government rally Tuesday he vowed to extend price caps to motorcycles and car parts.

The president also said he would soon present evidence showing that the US Embassy in Caracas is plotting to disrupt his rule.

Maduro in September expelled the top US diplomat in Caracas and two other US Embassy officials for allegedly conspiring with conservative opposition groups. The US rejected the allegations.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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