Venezuela’s newly-empowered opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly have announced plans to accelerate efforts to develop a legal mechanism to depose President Nicolas Maduro within weeks.
The development comes as the head of the opposition coalition Jesus Torrealba confirmed that opposition politicians will begin talks on Sunday to move forward the process of ousting Maduro, who the US-backed opposition blames for the persisting economic crisis in the oil-rich country amid the unprecedented crash of oil prices in global markets.
Torrealba added that the opposition will announce its "agenda for change" within the next few days, and the speaker of the National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, further vowed to hasten efforts to force Maduro’s ouster.
Ramos and other opposition figures had previously declared plans to challenge Maduro’s presidency within six months. He now insists the country cannot afford to wait.
"Nobody doubts now that that six-month time frame is too long," he stated in a press briefing. "In the next few days we will have to present a concrete proposal for the departure of that national disgrace that is the government."
The announcement was made after Maduro secured emergency powers for his administration to intervene in the nation’s deteriorating economy despite a recent legislative measure against the move, accusing the opposition of collaborating with Washington in a bid to remove him from power.
Earlier this week Venezuela’s Supreme Court overturned the opposition-led bill, denying Maduro the decree on emergency powers over the economy.
Ramos attacked the nation’s highest court over the move, describing it a “coup.”
The president, however, defended the court's ruling, insisting that the emergency measures were necessary to deal with the economic crisis.
"This decision was taken by the highest court of the country, in accordance with the constitution," Maduro said.
The government further states that businessmen linked to the opposition have been concealing basic staples such as flour, sugar and toilet paper in order to weaken the economy and force Maduro’s ouster.
According to Venezuelan constitution, a referendum to replace the president can be called any time after the first three years of his term, which will come in April. Four million signatures are needed to generate a recall referendum.