05:43 GMT +321 September 2019
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    New National Constituent Assembly Holds 1st Session in Venezuela

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    The newly-elected National Constituent Assembly, which is expected to prepare changes to the constitution and the country's governance system, began work on Friday in Venezuelan capital, Caracas, according to Venezuela's state television.

    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) — The newly-elected National Constituent Assembly, which is expected to prepare changes to the constitution and the country's governance system, began work on Friday in Venezuelan capital, Caracas, according to Venezuela's state television.

    According to the real-time broadcast, the opening of the first session takes place in the building of the National Assembly. In the hands of the 545 members of the assembly are portraits of former president Hugo Chavez and Venezuelan national hero Simon Bolivar.

    Thousands of government supporters gathered around the parliament building, welcoming the opening of the assembly. The opposition, which does not agree with its convocation, is expected to start soon a wide-spread protest action.

    Venezuelan ex-Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez was appointed the Constituent Assembly's president, whereas the state’s former vice presidents Aristobulo Isturiz and Isaias Rodriguez were designated the first and the second vice presidents of the Assembly, respectively, according to Las Ultimas Noticias newspaper.

    Earlier in the day, the Vatican called on the Venezuelan government to refrain from convening the Constituent Assembly as it was escalating the crisis in the Latin American country.

    The Constituent Assembly was elected Sunday to rewrite the constitution of the country, which has been mired in deadly protests for four months. Venezuelan opposition, as well as the European Union and the United States, among other countries, refuse to recognize its legitimacy.

    On Wednesday, the Smartmatic company which provided electronic voting technology for elections in Venezuela said that the results of last week's Constituent Assembly vote were manipulated. On Thursday, two prosecutors were appointed to investigate the allegations.

    Related:

    US Considers Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly 'Illegitimate'
    EU Disavows Results of Venezuelan Constituent Assembly Election
    Venezuelan Constituent Assembly Decisions to Be Approved by People - Ambassador
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