Photo: Hugo Chavez
The Venezuela Congress has granted President Hugo Chavez broader powers by allowing him to rule by decree. Rule by decree allows the ruler to arbitrarily create law, without approval by a legislative assembly.
Opponents have criticized the move as strategic to ward off the clout of the new congress, which is to be installed January 5, 2011. Opponents fear the move gives Chavez the ability to rule without consulting legislators, when new congress has a larger opposition bloc than the current one.
Chavez has defended the need for it so as to allow him to act more expeditiously with the deadly floods and landslide.
The decree powers approved on Friday will be in effect for 18 months.