Published: 21 September 2017 Author: Stefan Talmon
Amid a political crisis marked by almost daily demonstrations and clashes between protesters and the security forces, which have seen more than 100 people killed so far, President Nicolás Maduro ordered elections for a national constituent assembly to draft a new constitution – a move rejected by the opposition. The opposition, who blamed President Maduro for an economic crisis that caused shortages of food, medicine and basic supplies, instead demanded new elections to remove Maduro from power. Despite a boycott by the opposition, a vote for the national constituent assembly was held on 30 July 2017 amid violent protests. President Maduro argued that the new constitution would bring peace to a divided country, while the opposition called it an assault on democracy. Several opposition leaders were detained. The newly constituted National Constituent Assembly removed the country’s chief prosecutor, Luisa Ortega Diaz, from office and assumed the legislative powers of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, thus, as a matter of fact, neutralizing the parliament that had been democratically elected in 2015. The opposition accused President Maduro of a constitutional coup d’état.
On 2 August 2017, the German Government criticized President Maduro for the escalation of violence and called for the immediate release of several opposition politicians in Venezuela. During a press conference the deputy government spokesperson said: (more…)