Venezuela’s Maduro calls for new constitution
According to Rapporteur Report From, Press TV, Link, Maduro made the announcement on Monday while addressing a large group of his supporters during a May Day rally in the capital city Caracas.
He stressed that such a move was taken to "block the fascist coup," which is endangering the country that has been the scene of weeks of violence between pro- and anti-government protesters. At least 30 people have died during the clashes.
The Venezuelan president added that the new assembly would be a “citizen's constituent body, not from political parties -- a people's constituent body."
He noted that he would be submitting the application for the new body to the National Electoral Council later in the day.
The new assembly will be a group of 500 elected people from all sectors of the country’s society, half of which to be chosen from the “working class base” and the rest from local councils.
Demonstrator fires a homemade mortar during rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela on May 1, 2017.
"It is going to be a Constituent Assembly elected by direct vote by the people,” he said.
Venezuela’s current constitution was drawn up by a Constituent Assembly of various representatives in 1999 formed by the order of Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez.
"I am giving you the power that Hugo Chavez gave me," said Maduro. "Go and win this battle," he added.
Maduro made the announcement as security forces across the city fired teargas at opposition demonstrators hurling stones and petrol bombs.
Anti-government protests intensified in Venezuela on April 1, when the Supreme Court decided to strip opposition-controlled Congress of its powers. The move unleashed long-simmering anger and sparked the fiercest protests against Maduro in three years. While that decision was later revoked, protests have only gained momentum.
The embattled president is also blamed for Venezuela’s economic woes. People have been facing acute shortages of foodstuffs and medicine in recent months and looting has been repeatedly happening in the country.
Maduro blames the crisis on foreign powers seeking to wage an economic war against his government, adding certain external forces intend to escalate the social crisis so as to eventually unseat him.