Maduro to bypass legislature to approve national budget

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced on 12 October 2016 he will approve the 2017 national budget on 14 October by presenting the budget to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), as opposed to the Asamblea Nacional (AN). Maduro stated he will convene a popular assembly of the People's Congress on 14 October and will later present the budget to Venezuela's high court, and added he is obliged to obey a sentence from the TSJ (Efecto Cocuyo). The 11 October ruling from the TSJ deemed the President must receive budgetary approval not from the AN, but from the TSJ's Constitutional Chamber, citing the legislative majority's contempt for the law as well as the current state of economic emergency (Tal Cual). Maduro also accused the AN of contempt and stated the legislature is one step away from "dissolving itself" (Tal Cual).

The opposition has spoken out against Maduro's budget plans and the TSJ's sentence. AN President Henry Ramos Allup commented that approving the budget in this way is unconstitutional, as the TSJ is not authorized by the Constitution to grant budgetary approval (Tal Cual). Deputy José Guerra, President of the AN's budget subcommittee, called the TSJ decision an aberration and warned international banks could cut off financing to Venezuela if the national budget is not approved by the legislature (Globovisión). Guerra noted no entity would want to acquire a bond covering Venezuela's public debt if the bond is not covered by an indebtedness law that the AN must approve (La Patilla). These actions from the executive and judicial branches of the Venezuelan government threaten future loans to the country just as Venezuela could benefit from international financial assistance to confront its economic crisis.