Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro called this Monday May for a National Constituent Assembly, in accordance with Article 347 of the Constitution, with the aim of preserving the peace and stability of the nation.
“Today May 1st, I announce that, in use of my presidential powers and in accordance with article 347, I call upon the original constituent power so that the working class and the people, in a popular constituent process, can convene a National Constituent Assembly … It is the hour, it is the way”, President said during his address at the great march of the working class held in the Bolivar avenue, downtown Caracas.
Maduro detailed this process is initiated to empower people and to transform the State with the creation of a new Magna Carta deeply communal and working.
“I call on the original constituent power to achieve the peace the Republic needs, to defeat the fascist coup and to make the people, with their sovereignty, impose peace, harmony, true national dialogue,” added Maduro accompanied by the massive labor force that marched to celebrate Labor Day and the labor demands achieved during the Bolivarian Revolution.
Article 347 establishes the Venezuelan people “are the depository of the original constituent power” and consequently, it can call for the Constituent Assembly to “transform the State, create a new legal order and draft a new constitution.”
“We need to transform the State, especially that rotten National Assembly that is there … Everything we do will be to strengthen the pioneer constitution, the wise Bolivarian Constitution of 1999. We activated the constituent power for the people to take all the power of the country,” he said.
Maduro added this constituent must be citizen-inclusive, and anchored in the civil-military union and not of political parties or elites. “A civic, working, communal, missionary, peasant, feminist, youth, student, indigenous, but above all a working constituent assembly, deeply communal,” he emphasized.
The Constitution in Article 348 also grants the President the power to make the call. Moreover, Article 349 of the Constitution provides that President of the Republic “can not object to the new Constitution. The constituted powers can in no way impede the decisions of the Constituent Assembly. For purposes of the promulgation of the new Constitution, the same shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Venezuela or in the Gazette of the Constituent Assembly.”
Great Missions must be included in the Constitution
The President explained this call, to be made in the Council of Ministers as established by law, will have as a goal, in addition to consolidating peace and overcoming the continuing coup the opposition is mounting, “to perfect the economic, social and political system of the people.”
To this end, Maduro proposed that the great social missions, as well as the rights of Venezuelan youth, will form part of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
“I want to constitutionalize all missions and great missions, including the Housing Mission, so that no one will ever take them away from the people … I want to constitutionalize the Health Mission Barrio Adentro so that no one can ever privatize it. I want to constitutionalize the Clap and the Food Mission. I want to constitutionalize the Great Mission Barrio Nuevo, Barrio Tricolor, along with the Housing Mission, but also I want us to update ourselves and make a special chapter to get recorded the rights of youth and Venezuelan students,” he said.
He informed that in the next few hours he will deliver to the National Electoral Council the bases of this call, so that the people’s power can choose, by direct vote, the constituents who will create the new Constitution.
“In the next few hours I will send the electoral bases of this call to the Electoral Power. It will be an elected constituent, with a direct vote of the people, to choose about 500 constituents approximately. Some 200-250 elected by the bases,” he said.
In this regard, he urged the whole Venezuelan people to stand firm in defense of the legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez, who was the first to convene a national constituent assembly in 1999, with the aim of reforming the 1961 Constitution.
“The day has come, do not let me down, do not let Chavez down, do not let the homeland down,” he said.
Debate in the streets
President Maduro urged the popular power to debate in the streets the constitutional process, with the support of a presidential commission that will take the proposal for popular bases to decide how the system of election and scope of this new process will be.
“This commission will be presided over by the constituent Elias Jaua Milano and Aristobulo Isturiz vice president of the pioneer (constituent), Hermann Escarra, Isaias Rodriguez, Earle Herrera, Cilia Flores, Delcy Rodriguez, Iris Varela, Noeli Pocaterra and Francisco Ameliah will be participating there,” he said.
The President also rejected ongoing violent acts being carried out throughout the nation. “We are the children of the greatest democrat in the history of our country, our Commander Hugo Chavez, the great founder of democracy, we are a generation of men and women forged in a debate of ideas, in the street fights, we have faced everything and we do not want a civil war.”