Venezuela’s pro-government Constituent Assembly held an unscheduled session on Monday which opposition leader, Juan Guaido, has claimed was assembled to plan for the dissolution of the opposition-run legislature and call new legislative elections.
Reuters warns that such a move would exacerbate the crisis in Venezuela and may halt Norway-brokered talks between the government and Guaido allies.
The Constituent Assembly was established in 2017 and was widely panned as a move by Maduro to replace the National Assembly, the country's parliament. The National Assembly at that point had been largely stripped of its powers as critics claim legislators were who were not elected validly were sworn in.
Parliamentary elections are not due before late 2020.
In a video released on Sunday Guaido claimed that the government was preparing to "massively persecute" legislators in the National Assembly by stripping them of their parliamentary immunity. He further warned against a "mass pursuit" of anti-government legislators by the Maduro government.
Al Jazeera reports that the Supreme Court asked the Constituent Assembly to lift the immunity of three more legislators on charges including treason.
Thus far, 18 opposition officials, including Guaido, have been accused this year of treason and instigating rebellion. At least 21 deputies have fled the country, been arrested, or sought asylum in embassies to avoid detention.
On Saturday, Maduro claimed that Guaido will face justice for supporting the most recent round of U.S. sanctions, which block all commercial transactions with Venezuela’s government and freeze its assets in the United States.