Venezuela's Maduro affirms new legislative body as all powerful



Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday recognized the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) as the country's most powerful institution, vowing to abide by any decisions made by the new legislative body.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) arrives at the Congress with his wife Cilia Flores (L), the head of the Constituent Assemby, Delcy Rodriguez (R), and other officials in Caracas on August 10, 2017.

"As head of state, I subordinate myself to the powers of this constituent assembly," Maduro said in his first address at the assembly that was inaugurated six days ago.

"I have come to recognize your plenipotentiary, originative, sovereign and great powers to govern the fate of the republic," Maduro said.

The assertion was meant to set an example for other government institutions, specifically the opposition-controlled National Assembly who opposed the establishment of the ANC and refused to recognize its authority.

The right-wing opposition boycotted the July 30 elections of the constituent assembly, claiming it would only to strengthen the power of the ruling socialist party.

The 545-member assembly, which has the rights to amend the constitution and reorganize the government, issued a decree on Wednesday declaring its supreme power over all government branches.

Earlier in the day, Delcy Rodriguez, a former foreign minister elected president of the ANC, said the assembly "aims to repair the malfunction" plaguing the country's governing system.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro addresses the all-powerful pro-Maduro constituent assembly which has been placed over the National Assembly and tasked with rewriting the constitution, in Caracas on August 10, 2017.

The ongoing power struggle between the two sides has led to months of violent confrontations that have left more than 100 people dead, including protesters, government supporters and security forces members.

Maduro also said in the address that he wants a one-to-one talk with US President Donald Trump, who has slapped him with sanctions, but stood defiant against "imperialist aggression."

The Venezuelan leader said he had instructed his foreign minister to set it up "so I have a personal conversation with Donald Trump."

He said he had also given orders, "if it can happen," for a face-to-face meeting to be organized in New York on September 20 when heads of state and government from around the world gather for a UN General Assembly.

"If he's so interested in Venezuela, here I am. Mr. Donald Trump, here is my hand," he said.