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Venezuela lawmakers reject Maduro’s emergency decree

Update: May, 18/2016 - 15:20

CARACAS — Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly on Tuesday rejected the state of emergency decreed by President Nicolas Maduro, deepening the crisis in the oil-rich South American country.

The lawmakers, who voted by a show of hands, said the move "deepens the severe disruption of constitutional and democratic order that Venezuela is suffering through," and that Maduro had ignored the country’s constitution in issuing the decree.

The vote comes just a day before opposition-led marches are expected to demand that electoral officials proceed with a referendum on ousting the president, and as the country’s opposition urges the public to defy the state of emergency.

Maduro said he called the state of emergency, which came into force on Monday for a renewable 60-day period, to see off threats to the country.

Measures include broadening the powers of soldiers and police to keep public order, with the backing of local civilian groups.

Maduro has also ordered military exercises for Saturday.

Venezuela is grappling with hyperinflation, a shrinking economy, rampant crime, corruption, and food and electricity shortages. — AFP

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