Supporters joined newly-elected representatives for the official ceremony at the Federal Legislative Palace.
Five days after the nation voted, the elected members of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, ANC, have taken their seats. To celebrate their swearing-in, thousands of supporters joined a march to the parliament building in Caracas.
As the 545 elected members entered the Federal Legislative Palace in the capital, supporters joined them holding paintings of independence hero Simon Bolivar and former president Hugo Chavez, leader of the Bolivarian Revolution.
Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, tweeted that nothing could stop the people from creating a new history and pledged that they would be victorious.
During the ceremony, the former Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez was unanimously elected as president of the body.
Former Venezuelan vice presidents Aristobulo Isturiz and Isaias Rodriguez were elected as first and second vice presidents of the body respectively.
“The same bourgeoisie that opposed Chavez’s first National Constituent Assembly are today trying to silence the voices of the people in support of this one,” Rodriguez said.
“The National Constituent Assembly breaks with the dark past of the fascist right.”
The body’s first act on Saturday will be to re-convene a Truth Commission to investigate the deaths that have occured during four months of violent protests called by the right-wing opposition that sought to remove Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from office.
Rodriguez also said the legislative body will promote a peaceful dialogue with the opposition to bring an end to the political conflict, and asked their leaders to cease any calls for violence.
“The Venezuelan people will not turn their fate over to a violent minority,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve come to deepen our Constitution.”
Venezuela’s new Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, told teleSUR that he hoped the countries which have been attacking Venezuela will recognize that this Consituent Assembly is an opportunity for peace.
Arreaza said that it has already begun to restore stability to Venezuela in recent days, and he emphasised the role it will seek to play in reopening a dialogue with the opposition.
“The president of the Constituent Assembly, who was elected today, Delcy Rodriguez, has called for dialogue, just as President Maduro has been insisting on dialogue over and over again ever sice 2013,” recalled Arreaza.
He said, “We are calling on all the different political, economic and social forces in our society to come together and to seek solutions.” But, he added, “this has to be done among Venezuelans, respecting our independence. We don’t need anyone from outside to come and stick their noses in. We can sort these problems out among ourselves.”
More than eight million people chose their representatives from 6,120 candidates in last weekend’s poll.
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales sent his congratulations to the Constituent Assembly and praised it as a new process of liberation from the United States.
While Nicaragua welcomed the installation of the body “with absolute respect for the sovereignty and commitment of the Government and the Venezuelan people”
The government statement also congratulated those who will preside over the ANC and the Venezuelan people: “Many congratulations to the Venezuelan people, to the families, to the Assemblymen, to the Head of State, Comrade Nicolas, and to all that dear People who today open a new page In his victorious history. ”