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Venezuela's Maduro on way to winning decree powers

Thursday - 11/14/2013, 7:49pm  ET

In this photo provided by Miraflores Presidential Press Office, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro shake hands with supporters during a transport workers rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. Maduro says he'll present evidence in the coming hours showing how the U.S. Embassy in Caracas is plotting to destabilize the South American nation. Maduro's announcement at a pro-government rally Tuesday comes after he vowed to extend price caps that have led to long lines of bargain hunters at appliance stores across the country in recent days. (AP Photo/Miraflores Presidential Office)

The Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela's congress has voted in favor of granting President Nicolas Maduro the emergency decree powers he's seeking to help fight corruption and stabilize the inflation-plagued economy.

The pro-government majority on Thursday approved the request in the first of two required debates. The second will be held next week.

Opposition lawmakers allege that Maduro is trampling on Venezuela's democracy after congress this week stripped a lawmaker of her immunity from prosecution on corruption charges. With the lawmaker's removal and substitution with a government supporter, Maduro was able to garner the crucial 99th vote he needed to win passage of the bill.

Maduro has said he will use the extra powers to intensify actions against opponents and businesses he accuses of waging an "economic war" to destabilize the South American nation.

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