Venezuela: Maduro granted enabling act to target corruption, economic war

November 25, 2013

Venezuela’s National Assembly granted President Nicolas Maduro the power to pass laws by decree on economic and anti-corruption issues for a period of 12 months on November 19.

The National Assembly held a second and final vote on a proposal from Maduro to enact the so-called enabling law, which allows him to legislate by decree on specific issues for the period set by the assembly.

Maduro has been empowered to pass laws to “fight corruption, usury, money laundering and the economic war unleashed in recent times against the country by the national oligarchy”.

Maduro's decree powers will be limited to the “fight against corruption” and in “defence of the economy”. Over the next year, the decree powers can be rescinded at any time by the assembly, and the president remains restricted by the constitution.

Maduro will also not be able to rule without the assembly, which will convene as usual and pass bills.

The National Assembly approved a statement, saying: “The president will use these special powers to enact measures that allow the unobstructed confronting of corruption and straightening out of the economic model imposed by a 'parasitic bourgeoisie' that is 'still sucking oil revenues.”

Thanking legislators for enacting the enabling law, Maduro told Venezuelan media that day: “I am planning a ground-shaking offense against corruption from January.”

On November 18, Maduro told supporters that he had two laws prepared to pass by decree, including restricting sales profits between 15% and 30% and creating a new agency to oversee foreign currency exchange.

The announcements come amid a government crackdown on retail price gouging across the country. The government's consumer protection and price regulatory body Indepabis has forced some stores to drop shelf prices by as much as 60%.

However, Maduro said authorities found retailers imposing profit margins as high as 4000% in the capital, Caracas.

[Abridged from Venezuela Analysis.]

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