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National Assembly Passes Enabling Law

The Enabling Law was passed on its second debate in the National Assembly by three-fifths of legislatures.  This law was proposed by Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to fight corruption and aid in the government’s offensive in the economic war waged by certain right-wing sectors.

The law will go into effect on Wednesday and will let President Maduro make new laws, including the Law on Costs, Profits and Fair Prices and the Law on International Trade.  The socialist bloc in Venezuela’s legislature supported the Enabling law, while the right-wing, representing Fedecámaras, Consecomercio and Venamcham (trade and big businesses groups), voted against it.

As President Maduro noted, this measure is intended to protect the salaries of Venezuelans and to bring fairness and honesty to the structure of costs in the country’s internal market, thereby guaranteeing fair prices.  Through the Enabling Law, the President will establish a limit for stores and businesses to adjust their prices to reflect reasonable profits.

People on the street in support of the Enabling Law

Thousands of Venezuelans gathered near the National Assembly to celebrate the approval of the Enabling Law.  Many of those asked think the law will deepen the Maduro administration’s actions to restore ethics and morality to the country, which has long been harmed by corruption and usury.

After the National Assembly debate and vote, demonstrators, who have characterized the vote as a victory for the people, marched to Miraflores Palace to symbolically hand over the approved law to President Maduro. 

What is the Enabling Law?

The Enabling Law is a legal tool, within the scope of the Constitution, which allows the President to issue decrees with the rank and force of a law in the areas agreed on.

This mechanism reduces the time it takes to approve laws, and it simplifies the procedures and measures necessary to take on the emergency for which it was requested.

Article 203 of the Constitution

“Enabling laws are approved by three-fifths of the member of the National Assembly, with the aim of establishing the guidelines, purposes and framework of the matters delegated to the President of the Republic with the rank and force of law.  Enabling laws must establish a time period for their exercise.”

Four Enabling Laws in 13 Years of Revolution

During the years 1999, 2000, 2007 and 2010, the National Assembly granted special powers to then President Hugo Chávez, for him to issue decrees and laws in different areas of policy.  215 laws were approved during these periods.

1) In 1999, the first Enabling Law during the Bolivarian Revolution was approved for six months and led to 53 new laws.

2) Between 2000 and 2001, the Revolution’s second Enabling Law was approved for one year, during which time 49 laws were approved.

3) Between 2007 and 2008, the Revolution’s third Enabling Law was approved for eighteen months, during which time 59 laws were approved.

4) Between 2010 and 2012, the latest Enabling Law was approved to deal with the aftermath of heavy rains in 2010 that left thousands of families homeless.  54 laws were approved in that period.

Between 1961 and 1998, what was then Venezuela’s Congress approved six Enabling Laws, leading to 172 laws relating to the economy and finances.  Those laws led to the privatization of several Venezuelan state enterprises.

Radio Nacional de Venezuela / Press – Venezuelan Embassy in the US / November 20, 2013

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