Venezuelan supreme court overturns controversial ruling

The ruling stripped congress of its legislative powers

Venezuelan supreme court overturns controversial ruling

Opposition members kick and push a Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard barricade | Image: PA images

The Venezuelan supreme court has reversed its ruling to strip congress of its legislative powers.

It made the decision after the government of President Nicolas Maduro urged it to review the ruling "to maintain institutional stability".

The initial decision, which was announced on Wednesday, had been denounced as a "coup" by the opposition, which dominates the National Assembly.

Anti-government protesters staged daily protests against the move and were protesting again today. 

The supreme court announced the reversal of its ruling on its website today. 

A day earlier, chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega, an ally of President Nicolas Maduro, became the first high-ranking official to criticise the judges.

Speaking live on TV, she expressed "great concern" about a measure which, she said, violated the constitution.

Powers of the assembly 

In the original ruling the supreme court annulled the powers of the assembly, allowing the judges to write laws.

The court had accused lawmakers of "contempt" after allegations of irregularities by three opposition lawmakers during the 2015 elections.

The court has backed the leftist president in his ongoing struggles with the legislature. On Tuesday it removed parliamentary immunity from the assembly's members.

As well as widespread condemnation from the Venezuelan public, the ruling was also criticized internationally with the Organisation of American States calling it the "final blow to democracy" in Venezuela.