Venezuelan opposition to campaign against removal of parliamentary immunity

CARACAS, Venezuela, Oct. 11 (UPI) — Venezuela’s Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD, opposition coalition on Monday announced a campaign seeking to protect parliamentary immunity — citing threats against democracy by President Nicolas Maduro‘s regime.

The MUD will voice their concerns to judicial courts and other governments, MUD leader Jesus “Chuo” Torrealba said during a press conference in Caracas on Monday. Venezuela’s highest court — the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, or TSJ — is expected to announce a measure that would revoke parliamentary immunity on Tuesday, opposition leaders said.

Maduro previously said he had drafted a “decree to lift the immunity of public office” amid the opposition’s efforts to hold a recall referendum which would ask Venezuelans whether Maduro should be removed from the presidency.

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The MUD won majority control of Venezuela’s unicameral parliament, called the National Assembly, after elections in December. Since assuming control of parliament, the opposition has had several measures struck down by the TSJ, which is accused of working in favor of Maduro’s socialist regime.

The MUD accuses Maduro of threatening democracy and suppressing the opposition by attempting to remove parliamentary immunity.

Torrealba said the opposition’s campaign will address organizations and governments “to denounce this conspiracy against democracy” created by “irresponsible” governmental organizations — referring to the TSJ.

Maduro previously said the removal of parliamentary immunity would prevent parliamentarians from getting away with crimes. Maduro has often likened the opposition’s recall referendum efforts against him as a criminal conspiracy aided by the United States and pro-capitalism Venezuelan companies.

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