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Dec 17, 2010 5:25 PM by Andrea Babin

Venezuela Congress Gives Chavez Decree Powers

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuelan lawmakers have granted
President Hugo Chavez broad powers to rule by decree, undermining
the clout of a new congress that takes office next month with a
bigger opposition bloc.
The leftist leader's opponents have condemned the move as a
power grab, saying the law will be a blank check for Chavez to rule
without consulting lawmakers. Chavez has defended it by saying he
will use the power to decree laws to speed up the response to
deadly floods and landslides.
The decree powers approved Friday by the National Assembly will
be in effect for 18 months.

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