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Venezuela Assembly swears in 3 elected lawmakers barred by Supreme Court ruling

[JURIST] Venezuela's National Assembly [official website, in Spanish] swore in [press release, in Spanish] three opposition deputies on Tuesday despite a Supreme Court ruling that barred [JURIST report] the induction of the elected lawmakers. The ruling suspended four elected lawmakers for alleged election fraud in the December 6 elections. The elections resulted in the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition winning 112 seats and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) 55 seats, giving the opposition a two-thirds super-majority and extra powers such as removing judges from the top court and calling for a referendum to remove current President Nicolás Maduro. The new speaker, Henry Ramos Allup, said [BBC report] that he would seek a government change within six months. Members of the Socialist party maintain that the action by the Assembly is null and void.

The Venezuelan Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] ruling was made after Maduro claimed in a speech that the December 6 polls in which his party lost control of the National Assembly were fraudulent and challenged his opponents victory in the courts. The election results are seen as a setback to the ruling party [statement, in Spanish]. Jesus Torrealba, executive secretary for MUD, said in an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that "[t]his is a victory for democracy." He went on to say on Twitter [official account] that "The National Assembly represents the sovereignty of the people, and the president is trying to violate that using a biased court. On January 5, we will swear in the National Assembly and preserve that sovereignty as the Venezuelan people and international observers look on."

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