Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela leader, granted powers to govern by decree


Venezuelan acting president Nicolas Maduro clenches his fist after he was sworn in as acting President, in Caracas, on March 8, 2013. Maduro took over as acting president in a ceremony rejected by the opposition after a tearful farewell to Hugo Chavez during a rousing state funeral for the firebrand leftist.


Juan Bareto

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was granted special powers to govern by decree by a narrow vote in the country's parliament on Tuesday.

The National Assembly voted to allow Maduro to pass laws without consulting them for the next 12 months.

Maduro has argued that he needs the special powers to fight corruption, battle inflation and deal with food shortages caused by what he says is an "economic war."

The measures had been debated for three months before the vote and are a victory for Maduro who only narrowly won April's presidential elections.

The parliament president, a supporter of Maduro, told cheering supporters outside that it was a victory of love over hate.

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"What’s at stake here are two models,” he said.

“The model of hate, which is capitalism, and the model of love, which is socialism; the model of Chavez and the people, which is socialism, and the model of bourgeoisie traitors, which is capitalism.”

Venezuela is facing food shortages and shortages of other essential goods in recent years. Power cuts have become frequent and oil production down.

The country faces a 54 percent inflation rate.

Maduro has forced retailers to slash prices by 60 percent and has put controls on foreign currency. He is expected to continue this policy by using his new powers.

The president has argued that the special powers he has been given will help return Venezuela back to economic growth and stability.