New Venezuela assembly leader calls for opposition to unite

Venezuela's congress has selected a new leader who is urging the nation's fractious opposition to unite and press for a fair vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Lawmakers swore in 73-year-old Omar Barboza as National Assembly president Friday. The body is a rare opposition-controlled entity amid a federal government dominated by President Nicolas Maduro's allies.

The assembly's laws are routinely declared unconstitutional by the government-stacked Supreme Court, and an all-powerful constitutional assembly elected last year has essentially taken over its legislative authority.

Barboza told lawmakers that Venezuelans want a peaceful resolution to the nation's economic and political crisis and setting terms for a fair election should be the top priority.

The vote is to take place in 2018 but no date has been set.