Venezuela's Constituent Assembly voted to strip opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaido of his parliamentary immunity Tuesday.
The move by the assembly, which is loyal to acting President Nicolas Maduro, could pave the way for Guaido's prosecution and potential arrest.
What you need to know
- The Constituent Assembly voted unanimously to strip Guaido of his immunity from prosecution.
- Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice ordered the assembly to do so after Guaido violated an order banning him from leaving the country while under investigation.
- Under the constitution, withdrawing a lawmaker's immunity requires approval from the National Assembly. But the opposition-controlled chamber has not endorsed the decision.
'This is inquisition'
Diosdado Cabello, president of the Constituent Assembly, accused Guaido and the opposition of naively inviting a foreign invasion and inciting a civil war.
"They don't care about deaths," he said. "They don't have the slightest idea of what the consequences of war are for a country."
Earlier Tuesday, Guaido dismissed the high court and Constituent Assembly as illegitimate and continued his calls for Maduro to resign as president.
"They can try to kidnap me," the self-declared president said. "You know how the regime acts. This is not even persecution. This is inquisition."
Step towards prosecution: The Constituent Assembly's decree appears to allow the Supreme Court of Justice to move ahead with a trial of Guaido. But whether Maduro's regime will take action against the 35-year-old lawmaker remains unclear. So far, Maduro has avoided jailing Guaido.
Who is Guaido? The self-declared president is the head of the National Assembly. Roughly 50 countries, including the United States and Germany, recognize him as the legitimate leader of the oil-rich South American country.
What is the Constituent Assembly? The 545-seat assembly was elected in 2017 to draft a new constitution for Venezuela. Shortly after its first meeting in August 2017, it declared itself the supreme governing body of Venezuela and banned the opposition-led National Assembly.
dv/amp (AFP, AP, dpa)