- Luis Parra is currently involved in a dispute with Juan Guaidó for President of the National Assembly of Venezuela.
- The TSJ decision has international ramifications, as Guaidó's basis for international legitimacy is this post.
- Guaido is recognized as the legitimate interim President of Venezuela, while Maduro is still backed by Russia and China.
The Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) ruled on Wednesday that the self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaidó, is not the legitimate president of the country’s National Assembly, the country’s Parliament. As per the court’s ruling, the legislative presidency is now in the hands of deputy Luis Parra, who had initially been elected to the post in a controversial session on January 5.
Guaidó was installed as a re-elected president of parliament in a ceremony held at the headquarters of a newspaper after being prevented from entering the Assembly by police and defenders of Nicolás Maduro.
On the other hand, government deputies and a small group of opponents, of which Parra is a part, were allowed entry. This small group is classified as corrupt by Guaidó’s supporters.
Inside the parliamentary seat, Parra won a vote for the presidency of the house, which did not have a quorum of 84 deputies, as Guaidó and other opponents denounced. The votes were not opened and no minutes of the session were ever released.
Of the 167 deputies in the Assembly, 112 declared themselves opponents of Maduro. Those who had been prevented from entering went to the head office of a newspaper and held a parallel session in front of the press to register that 100 parliamentarians were present and voted for Guaidó’s re-election as president of the Assembly.
Today, in addition to declaring Guaidó’s status as parliamentary head null and void, the Venezuelan Supreme court, which is fully permeable to Maduro’s orders, also did not recognize the legitimacy of the leadership that had been elected at the newspaper headquarters. On the other hand, it validated the controversial election that was won by Parra.
“The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) declared valid the Board of Directors of the National Assembly (AN) appointed on Jan. 5, 2020 for the 2020-2021 parliamentary term, which is confirming deputies Luis Eduardo Parra Rivero as president, Franklin Duarte as first vice president and Jose Gregorio Noriega as second vice president,” the court said in a statement.
The ruling also establishes that any public or private person “who lends or gives space” for the installation of a parallel or virtual parliament “must be disregarded, and any act performed as such is void.” The TSJ alleged that the leadership, led by Parra, whose legitimacy is also questioned by a good part of the international community, did not commit any “action outside the scope of constitutional competence” in the January 5th vote.
Guaido is on record having declared himself as the legitimate transitional president of Venezuela in January 2019. He is recognized as the nation’s legitimate president by around 60 countries worldwide, including the world’s superpower, the USA.
Despite great pressure from Washington, and the devastating economic situation in Venezuela, Maduro remains in power, thanks to among other things, the fact that he has the full backing of the country’s military. He also enjoys great support from countries like Russia and China. Venezuela has been suffering from a severe economic crisis for years, most recently exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.