Maduro reshuffles Cabinet following election defeat

December 10, 2015 02:55 am | Updated November 16, 2021 10:19 pm IST - CARACAS:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced an imminent Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday after his ruling Socialist Party was crushed in legislative elections, but he vowed to veto opposition plans for an amnesty law for jailed politicians.

The government was stunned by Sunday’s elections, winning just 55 seats against the opposition’s 112 and losing control of the National Assembly for the first time since former President Hugo Chavez took office in 1999.

One of the opposition’s main aims in the new legislature is to secure the release of jailed politicians, most notably Leopoldo Lopez who was imprisoned for leading anti-government protests in 2014 that triggered violence leading to more than 40 deaths.

Mr. Maduro, though, was defiant during a three-hour television appearance on Tuesday night.

The worst economic crisis in the OPEC country’s recent history has Venezuelan staples including flour, milk, meat and beans running scarce.

Anger over shortages propelled the opposition to a long-elusive victory in Sunday’s vote for a new National Assembly. The coalition even swept traditional bastions of “Chavismo,” the movement named after former President Hugo Chavez, including the Caracas slums and Chavez’s home state of Barinas.

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