Deepening Authoritarianism in Venezuela
From the BBC last week: Venezuela’s President Maduro moves nearer to decree powers
Venezuela’s National Assembly has paved the way to granting special powers for President Nicolas Maduro.
Under the measures the leader would be able to govern by decree for 12 months.
The bill still needs to be revised by a special commission and debated for a second time, but correspondents do not expect significant changes to be made.
Mr Maduro says he will use it to tackle corruption and the economic crisis. However, critics fear he may use it to silence the opposition.
President Nicolas Maduro first asked parliament in October to grant him special powers to fight corruption and what he called "economic sabotage".
The country is facing shortages of food and essential goods, power cuts and around 54% annual inflation.
The government recently seized many high street shops selling its merchandise at reduced prices, because they were allegedly overcharging consumers.
At the same time, via Reuters: Venezuela Arrests 100 ‘Bourgeois’ Businessmen In Crackdown, Maduro Says
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday that authorities had arrested more than 100 "bourgeois" businessmen in a crackdown on alleged price-gouging since the weekend.