The Americas

Venezuelan opposition seats lawmakers in challenge to Maduro

  • Opposition members shout "Recall now" during a protest march against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Venezuela's opposition marched Wednesday to demand electoral officials go forth with the recall referendum process against Maduro. Venezuela’s socialist government appears to be digging in its heels to stop the presidential recall vote. The elections board missed its own deadline to certify signatures on the petition demanding the start of a recall process. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Opposition members shout "Recall now" during a protest march against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Venezuela's opposition marched Wednesday to demand electoral officials go forth with the recall referendum process against Maduro. Venezuela’s socialist government appears to be digging in its heels to stop the presidential recall vote. The elections board missed its own deadline to certify signatures on the petition demanding the start of a recall process. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman holds a piece of paper with a handwritten message that reads in Spanish; "My signature is valid and I'm going to make them accept it" as she walks along a cordon of National Police women during a protest march in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Venezuela's opposition marched Wednesday to demand electoral officials go forth with the recall referendum process against Maduro. Venezuela’s socialist government appears to be digging in its heels to stop the presidential recall vote. The elections board missed its own deadline to certify signatures on the petition demanding the start of a recall process. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

    A woman holds a piece of paper with a handwritten message that reads in Spanish; "My signature is valid and I'm going to make them accept it" as she walks along a cordon of National Police women during a protest march in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Venezuela's opposition marched Wednesday to demand electoral officials go forth with the recall referendum process against Maduro. Venezuela’s socialist government appears to be digging in its heels to stop the presidential recall vote. The elections board missed its own deadline to certify signatures on the petition demanding the start of a recall process. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (The Associated Press)

Venezuela's congress has sworn in three opposition lawmakers in violation of a Supreme Court ruling that is likely to further inflame the country's political divisions.

Electoral authorities certified the victory of the indigenous lawmakers as part of the opposition's landslide victory in December elections. But they were denied their seats after government allies alleged electoral irregularities in the Amazon region and the high court ruled that any legislation passed with the three lawmakers voting would be nullified.

The court's decision denied the opposition a two-thirds super majority that would have allowed it to dramatically challenge President Nicolas Maduro's socialist rule.

The government-stacked Supreme Court has shot down almost every piece of legislation passed by congress. But on Thursday opposition leaders vowed to ignore future court rulings that they consider unconstitutional.