Caracas, Jan 6 (IANS) Venezuela parliament swore in its new crop of parliamentarians, the first time in 17 years that an opposition party, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), holds a majority.
Tensions between the government and the MUD have been high for weeks, with incoming Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup vowing to root out corruption within the administration of President Nicolas Maduro, Xinhua reported.
During the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, lawmakers from the ruling Great Patriotic Pole bloc stormed the dais after claiming Allup had broken assembly rules.
The Bolivarian loyalists then walked out of the chamber, stating that Allup had prevented them from speaking and only allowed opposition member Julio Borges to present the MUD’s legislative agenda.
Deputy Diosdado Cabello, former assembly president, told the press “we cannot permit that the rules be violated. The violation was caused because the Assembly was inaugurated today (Tuesday) and he (Ramos Allup) must allow anyone to speak. This is not petulance from our bench. We all asked for the rules to be followed but he ignored us.”
Earlier in the day, Maduro sought to strike a conciliatory note in an address, saying “I call on all political and social sectors to help the National Assembly be inaugurated in peace and for all laws to be respected.”