CARACAS: Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro was sworn in Thursday for a second term as president of the crisis-wracked Latin American country, just days after winning an election boycotted by the opposition and decried abroad.
Maduro swore “to respect and enforce the Constitution and lead all revolutionary changes” in a ceremony before the Constituent Assembly, which he set up himself last year and stacked with his supporters.
In power since 2013, the socialist leader said those changes should lead Venezuela to “the peace, prosperity and happiness of our people.”
Maduro later plans to attend an event at the defense ministry in Caracas to receive a “reaffirmation of loyalty” from the armed forces’ high command.
The 55-year-old former bus driver was re-elected Sunday in a vote boycotted by the main opposition and widely condemned by the international community, including the United States, which denounced it as a “sham.”
His election for a second six-year term maintains him in the presidency until 2025.
Venezuela’s constitution states that the president must be sworn in before parliament, where the opposition holds the majority and which has in practice been replaced by the Constituent Assembly.
The parliament was declared in contempt by the Supreme Court two years ago, and consequently its decisions are now considered null and void.
Under the constitution, the inauguration of Maduro’s new term was to be held next January. Prior to the swearing-in, the Assembly approved by a show of hands a decree clarifying the new mandate would begin on January 10 even if Maduro was to be sworn in immediately.