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Venezuela enters crisis week as vote for new constituent assembly approaches


Opposition demonstrators make an altar on the site where young activist Neomar Lander was mortally wounded during clashes with riot police

RONALDO SCHEMIDT | AFP | Getty Images

Opposition demonstrators make an altar on the site where young activist Neomar Lander was mortally wounded during clashes with riot police

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro is pressing ahead with a controversial election to form a new government that opponents and analysts fear will damage the country’s democracy and allow him to cement his leadership.

The election for the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) will be held on Sunday, July 30, and opposition leaders are planning a week of protests, including a two-day national strike starting on Wednesday, to oppose the election. More than 100 people have died since April in anti-Maduro protests and hundreds more have been injured and arrested, according to Reuters.

The ANC is expected be heavily made up of Maduro supporters, as it over-represents territories and sectors of the economy more likely to support him. Once formed, the ANC will be able to rewrite the country’s constitution and will supersede any other legislative body, including the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

“The establishment of an alternative institution would result in the rubberstamping of new laws and effectively eliminate political dissent in the country,” Joel Ross, Latin America analyst at global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, told CNBC via email.

“In this context, the July 30 vote would legitimize the executive’s encroachment on the separation of powers.”

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