Venezuela attorney general says won’t recognize new assembly

Venezuela's attorney general, a vocal dissenter in President Nicolas Maduro's government, said Monday she will not recognize a new assembly voted in on the weekend, calling it an expression of "dictatorial ambition."

Luisa Ortega told reporters that the Constituent Assembly elected on Sunday amid deadly protests “does not have legitimacy.”

The official, who has kept her post despite breaking with Maduro four months ago over the new body, warned that the assembly would do away with the right to vote, to protest, and freedom of expression, in an effort by Maduro to “exercise power with no limits at all.”

“All political rights are in peril,” she said.

“This presidential Constituent Assembly does not have legitimacy. It is a sneer to the people and its sovereignty,” Ortega added.

Maduro held Sunday’s vote for the Constituent Assembly in the face of deadly street protests and international condemnation, hailing it as a huge “victory.”

The electoral authority claimed more than 40 percent of Venezuela’s 20 million voters had cast ballots, but the opposition said it was less than half that.

The new assembly, tasked with rewriting the constitution, has the power to dissolve the country’s legislative National Assembly, which is controlled by the opposition.

The US, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica and other nations have said they will not recognize the Constituent Assembly. The EU has said it, too, has concerns about the way it was elected and may follow suit.

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