The opposition to President Nicolas Maduro denounced, Sunday, January 5, a "Parliamentary coup" after a deputy declared himself president of the Venezuelan Parliament. Parliament, the only institution controlled by opponents of the Chavista leader, was to elect its president for 2020.
In the absence of Juan Guaido – the outgoing – and many opposition MPs, who were prevented from attending the start of the session by lengthy police checks outside of Parliament, and in the crowd, Luis Parra grabbed a megaphone.
He then proclaimed himself the new president of the Hemicycle, according to images broadcast by public television. Elected officials close to Mr. Guaido, recognized by fifty states as interim president of the country, said he had made this gesture. "Without vote or quorum".
False, replies Luis Parra, who claims that 81 deputies out of 140 present voted for him. The Chavista Pedro Carreño explained to Agence France-Presse that the meeting took place in the presence of 150 elected officials, 84 of whom voted for Mr. Parra, the simple majority of the Parliament which has 167 seats.
After Luis Parra's surprise proclamation, Juan Guaido went with opposition members to the newspaper's headquarters El Nacional, but they did not specify their intentions.
"Accomplices of the dictatorship"
Luis Parra was kicked out of the Primero Justicia (Justice First, social-liberal) party after a news site accused him of receiving bribes in exchange for supporting an entrepreneur Colombian who is said to have been involved in a corruption case linked to food imports. Despite his exclusion, the MP claims to be still in opposition to Nicolas Maduro.
As a preamble to Sunday's tumultuous session, Juan Guaido said he had the necessary votes to be re-elected head of the institution and therefore continue to claim the status of interim president.
However, he was detained for several hours by police and the army for checks which prevented him from entering the Chamber. He had then denounced on Twitter :
"Today, those who prevent the legitimate establishment of the Venezuelan Parliament are accomplices of the dictatorship and of those who oppress the Venezuelan people. "
Guaido proclaimed himself acting president on January 23, 2019, calling Nicolas Maduro a"Usurper" because of the 2018 presidential election which allowed him to stay in power. In one year, the opponent did not achieve his goal of holding a presidential election "Free and transparent".
Protests against Nicolas Maduro are attracting fewer and fewer Venezuelans, and talks with the government organized under Norwegian umbrella have fizzled, as has the military's call for an uprising by Juan Guaido on April 30.
And the Chaviste is still on the job. It continues to enjoy the support of Russia, Cuba and China, but above all the army, the keystone of the Venezuelan political system.
And, in practice, the National Assembly no longer has any power. Legislative work has been carried out since 2017 by a Constituent Assembly composed entirely of Chavists. This same Constituent is responsible for convening the legislative elections to be held this year. But Juan Guaido and the parties that support him say they want to boycott the poll because it is organized by the government.