Venezuela: Juan Guaidó’s rival is appointed President of Parliament

After soldiers and other opposition figures prevented him from entering the parliament building, Juan Guaidó lost the office of Venezuelan parliament president. Instead, Luis Parra declared himself the President of Parliament by megaphone, as the state television showed. Guaidó was elected chairman of the opposition-dominated parliament in early 2019.

Guaidó had also appointed himself President in early 2019 instead of incumbent Nicolás Maduro. More than 50 states, including Germany and the USA, recognize him as head of state. president Maduro however refuses to hand over power.

(Read here an analysis of developments in Venezuela since the beginning of the conflict.)

Luis Parra declares himself President of Parliament.

Federico Parra / AFP

Luis Parra declares himself President of Parliament.

It was expected that Guaidó would be re-elected President of Parliament in a Sunday vote, but only members of the opposition who were loyal to the government and members of the opposition who were critical of Guaidó were admitted into the building.

The National Assembly has so far been in the hands of the opposition

Combat security forces denied them access. Guaidó tried unsuccessfully to climb a fence. According to the AP news agency, Guaidó said to the police: “You are accomplices of those responsible for the hunger in Venezuela”.

The opposition spoke of a “parliamentary coup”. MPs tried to swear “wrong leadership” without a vote, the National Assembly said on Twitter. The National Assembly is the only representative body in Venezuela that has so far been in the hands of the opposition.

Guaidó wrote on Twitter: “Those who help prevent the legitimate establishment of the Venezuelan parliament are complicit in the dictatorship and those who oppress the Venezuelan people.”

The Venezuelan opposition won the parliamentary elections in December 2015. A little later, however, the government-related Supreme Court withdrew recognition from the National Assembly and declared all of its decisions invalid. The controversial socialist leader Nicolás Maduro then set up the constituent assembly he had given in 2017 to bypass the parliament.

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