Spain PM urges democracy in Venezuela after court coup

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned Friday that democracy could break down in Venezuela.

Published: 31st March 2017 03:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2017 03:06 PM   |  A+A-


MADRID: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned Friday that democracy could break down in Venezuela, joining other international leaders in condemning the country's Supreme Court seizing power from the opposition-led legislature.

Widely branded a coup, the court's move tightened socialist President Nicolas Maduro's grip after more than a year in which he has been locked in a political struggle with the centre-right opposition.

"If the separation of powers breaks down, democracy breaks down," Rajoy warned in a tweet.

"For freedom, democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela."

In a decision announced late Wednesday, Venezuela's Supreme Court -- whose judges have staunchly backed Maduro -- said it would directly assume parliamentary powers, accusing the National Assembly of being in contempt of court.

The ruling strips Maduro's opponents in the legislature of what little grip they had over a key pillar of government.

Hugo Chavez's successor now holds all state powers -- the executive, legislature, judiciary and army.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday also stripped parliamentary immunity from lawmakers in the assembly.

Critics said the move was an authoritarian turn for the South American oil-producing giant, where an economic crisis has caused food shortages, riots and an epidemic of violent crime.

The US State Department called it "a serious setback for democracy."

Regional powers Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Chile and others also warned it was a threat to democracy in Venezuela.

Guatemala also denounced the court's action. But leftist-led Bolivia defended Maduro.

The hardest line came from the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, who echoed Maduro's opponents' claims of a "coup d'Etat."

Meanwhile, the speaker of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, urged the army, which has thus far supported Maduro, to take a stand.

Spain, the main intermediary between Latin America and the European Union, has been a host nation for many Venezuelans fleeing the political and economic crisis in their country.

The conservatives in Spain openly support Venezuela's centre-right opposition, and Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, makes regularly trips to the country.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp