Venezuelan President Maduro has declared the constituent assembly the most powerful institution in the country, Deutsche Welle reports.
Speaking before the newly formed constituent assembly for the first time on Thursday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro affirmed that the new legislative body was all powerful, as well as “sovereign and magnificent.”
The president’s move to consolidate his powers comes as Venezuela finds itself engulfed by increasingly violent anti-government protests, crippling inflation and a shortage of basic goods, including foods and medicine.
“This assembly had a violent birth,” Maduro said, drawing a standing ovation from the assembly when he promised to jail violent anti-government protestors.
During his speech, Maduro also told the constituent assembly on Thursday that he wants a “personal conversation” with US President Donald Trump. The offer came after the US last week imposed sanctions on Maduro, who the Trump administration has labeled “a dictator.” The sanctions see any of the Venezuelan leader’s US assets frozen and bar him from conducting business American citizens. Several members from the new assembly were also sanctioned.