Venezuela top court overrules Congress, grants decree powers

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Venezuela's Supreme Court has overruled the opposition-controlled congress and granted broad decree powers to President Nicolas Maduro.

Congress last month had refused to approve Maduro's declaration of an economic emergency. The court ruled in a decision made public Thursday night that Maduro did not need congressional approval after all. The court said the declaration of emergency is now in effect, granting Maduro greatly expanded authority over the economy for 60 days.

Critics of Venezuela's socialist administration immediately denounced the move as unconstitutional and tantamount to a coup.

The opposition took control of congress in January for the first time since the late President Hugo Chavez initiated Venezuela's socialist revolution 17 years ago.

The court has not ruled against the executive branch in that time.