Venezuelan president asks parliament for special powers to counter US threats
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has asked the country's parliament, the National Assembly, to be granted special powers to struggle against the threats from the United States.
"Special legislative powers will allow me to take measures in line with a complex scenario which Venezuela is going through to ensure peace and the country's development in the face of the threats from the US," the president said.
In case Maduro receives special powers, he will be able to issue decrees which will be equivalent to laws.
US President Barack Obama issued an executive order on Monday imposing sanctions against seven top Venezuelan officials. Washington says Venezuela abuses human rights and persecutes "political opponents," and also violates the freedom of the press and cracks down on protesters.
Venezuela's parliament gave Maduro special powers in November 2013. Then he signed a number of decrees that increased the state's control over economy, toughened the fight against corruption and assisted the implementation of social programs.
Venezuelan late leader Hugo Chavez was granted special powers by the parliament four times during his 14-year rule. The measure allowed him to sign more than 200 presidential decrees equivalent to laws. The special powers lasted for between six and 18 months.