Venezuela row as Congress appoints judges

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The judges at a swearing-in ceremony in Caracas

Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly has appointed 33 judges to the Supreme Court, prompting accusations of an attempted usurpation of power.

The Assembly says it has the right to name and fire justices under the country’s constitution.

The court, which has largely pro-government members, described the move as illegal.

The government will not allow serving judges to be unseated.

The court has ordered “civil and military authorities” to carry out “coercive actions” in response to the appointments.

It is unclear what this will entail.

The raft of new and replacement judges is seen as mostly symbolic.

The opposition say the current justices are illegitimate, having been rushed into their positions shortly before the ruling party lost its majority in 2015.

Since the opposition took over last year, the court has consistently blocked all bills voted in by Congress.

When the Supreme Court announced plans to take over the powers of the National Assembly in March, it sparked street protests that still carry on almost daily.

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