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Venezuela's National Assembly only to debate 7 more articles to pass new TSJ Law.

By Sol Maria Castro,

The pro-government legislators, determined to pass the new Supreme Court Organic Law which would increase the number of justices to 32, appointed by the simple majority in the National Assembly, passed yet another article, No. 20, after a 16-hour session which ended Wednesday at 6 am. According to majority leader, MVR, Cilia Flores, the pro-government block will pass the law before the end of the month, and to achieve that, they will continue the marathon-like sessions until they pass the 27 articles the Law was reduced to, from the 126 article draft presented for the second discussion. During a press conference this Thursday morning, opposition legislator Juan José Caldera, on behalf of the democratic block, denounced this practice, which violates the Internal Rules of Debate, and all elemental laws of human rights, and illustrated it with the unfortunate case of AD substitute legislator Edilberto Rodríguez, who died in a traffic accident after leaving the sixteen-hour session. During today’s ordinary session, a new reduction to 23 articles was presented by MVR legislator Luis Velásquez Alvaray.

Conflict of competence gets addressed by the TSJ.

The President of the Supreme Court of Justice, TSJ, and president of the Constitutional Chamber, Iván Rincón, appointed Justice Omar Mora Díaz, another pro-government magistrate to study the conflict of competence between the Electoral and Constitutional Chambers and present a draft in less than 30 days to be discussed by the Plenary Chamber. Justice Martini Urdaneta, head of the Electoral Chamber, opposed Rincón’s proposal since according to the Supreme Court Law, an accidental Plenary had to be convoked since three of the justices of the Constitutional Chamber and the three members of the Electoral Chamber have all advanced opinion in the matter. Earlier this month, the Constitutional Chamber annulled a firm sentence of the Electoral Chamber that ordered the CNE to validate the 876,017 so-called assisted forms collected during the signature collection drive to petition a presidential recall referendum, and ordered the Chamber to refrain from knowing any causes that deal with the electoral matter.

New ministers sworn in.

President Hugo Chávez swore in the new ministers of Agriculture and Lands, Arnoldo Márquez, Infrastructure, Ramón Cañizales and the president of the Venezuelan Guayana Corporation, Rafael Sánchez Márquez. After the ceremony, the President addressed a few words to highlight the merits of the new three government officials. Sánchez Márquez and Cañizales belong to the same military promotion as the President.

Labor unions demand 30% raise for May 1st.

The pro-government union, National Union of Workers, UNT, has demanded a salary and wage raise of 30% to compensate the effects of inflation while the Venezuelan Labor Confederation, CTV, insists the traditional tripartite table, representatives from the government, the legal union CTV, and the legal private business sector, FEDECAMARAS, get together to reach consensus on the upcoming raise, instead of a presidential decree deciding the percentage. The last three years, the government has decided not to summon the tripartite, and has decreed salary raises unilaterally. The announcement is expected this Sunday during the President’s weekly radio and television show.

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