Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Maduro gives vice president wide-ranging powers


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has given his vice president wide-reaching decree powers, including the ability to determine ministries’ spending plans and expropriate private businesses, in a move that has fueled speculation over possible succession plans.

Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, appointed by Maduro this month, is now authorized to issue economic orders that affect everything from taxes to foreign currency allotments for state-owned companies, according to the official gazette dated Thursday and distributed on Monday.

The new powers exceed those historically accorded the vice president’s office and rival those at times enjoyed by the president, Central University of Venezuela constitutional law professor Jose Vicente Haro said.

The last such decree issued in Venezuela was made when then-president Hugo Chavez removed himself from the public eye for treatment during the last round of his fight with cancer.

Maduro’s opponents have been pushing ahead with a recall referendum begun last year to bring an early end to his mandate, which the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice and the National Electoral Council delayed to effectively prevent a new presidential election.

Under Venezuela’s constitution, a successful recall referendum against Maduro would lead to El Aissami taking over for the remainder of Maduro’s term.

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