Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s calls for a new constitution have set off new protests in Venezuela. The new constitution would be drafted by a committee selected by Maduro and exclude Congress, which is controlled by the opposition party. Mr. Maduro used Mayday rallies as the stage to announce his plans. While the specifics of the new constitution are unclear, it appears to be motivated by a desire to limit the ability of congress to overrule him and move the country further into authoritarianism.
One-hundred protesters blocked a road in Caracas and police were called to disperse tear gas and restore order.
Maduro succeeded Hugo Chavez after his death, but has never been able to achieve the popularity that the charismatic leader had. Venezuela’s economy has been crippled by lower oil prices, currency crises, corruption, and shortages of basic products such as toilet paper and food staples. Under current law, the next Presidential election would take place at the end of next year.