Venezuela lawmakers: President Maduro 'abandoned his post'

Venezuela's National Assembly, which is controlled by opposition parties, has declared that President Nicolas Maduro has "abandoned his post".

The National Assembly Speaker argued that by allowing the economic crisis to spiral out of control, President Maduro had failed to fulfil his duties.

The resolution is the latest in a series of attempts by the opposition to oust Mr Maduro from office.

However, the Supreme Court is expected to declare the move unconstitutional.

Poles apart
Even before lawmakers voted on the resolution on Monday, the Supreme Court had warned in a statement [in Spanish] that it was not in the power of the National Assembly to remove the president from office.

Instead, it called on opposition lawmakers to resolve their differences with the government through dialogue.

Opposition politicians and government representatives are due to meet for talks on Friday on how to solve Venezuela's economic and political crisis.

The country is deeply divided IGNORE INTO those who want to see President Maduro ousted from office and those who continue to be loyal to the "Bolivarian Revolution", the brand of socialism introduced by his predecessor in office, Hugo Chavez.

President Maduro's critics say he, and Mr Chavez before him, are to blame for the sky-rocketing inflation and chronic shortages of basic goods the country is experiencing.

Mr Maduro in turn blames Venezuela's business elite, accusing it of sabotaging the country's economy and conspiring with "imperialist forces" in the United States to force him from office.

Previous attempts by the opposition to remove Mr Maduro from the presidency before his term comes to an end at the beginning of 2019 have so far failed.

But critics of President Maduro remain adamant that a new government is needed to lift Venezuela from its economic crisis.

The governing Socialist Party, meanwhile, continues to back Mr Maduro.

Its vice-president, Diosdado Cabello, said on Monday: "President Maduro has not resigned and he will not resign."

"He has not abandoned his post, and we have not recognized nor will we recognize a disobedient legislature," he added.