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Venezuela’s Supreme Court, which is controlled by President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government, ruled that it would take over the opposition-dominated National Assembly, sparking calls that the crisis-riven country is now a full-blown dictatorship.

Venezuela’s political factions have been at loggerheads ever since the opposition won control of the legislature in elections last year, ending over a decade of near-complete governing control enjoyed by the ruling socialist coalition.

This is “yet another sign that the country’s political system is crumbling and fast. If there was any doubt before, there should no longer be one: Venezuela is a dictatorship,” said Peter Schechter, senior vice president of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Centre at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC.

The move comes only a few days after the Organisation of American States urged Venezuela to respect the functioning of democracy. Venezuela in the midst of ravening economic and social crisis that this month saw Mr Maduro ask the United Nations for humanitarian help.

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