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Venezuela's congress grants Maduro decree powers

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro raises his fist during a rally in Caracas on November 12, 2013. Venezuela's ruling party eyed a vote Tuesday to pave the way for Maduro to govern by decree, broadening his powers, during an inflationary crisis a month before crucial municipal elections.

AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ
CARACAS, Venezuela

Venezuela's congress has granted President Nicolas Maduro special powers to enact laws by decree, which he says he needs to go after private businesses he says are trying to sabotage the country's economy.

The power to enact laws for up to a year without consulting congress was approved by lawmakers Tuesday.

The ruling socialist party is calling on supporters to march to the presidential palace to deliver the text of the enabling law to Maduro. Opponents say the law further erodes the rule of law in the deeply polarized nation.

Maduro has said his first act under the yearlong mandate will be to set limits on profits so companies don't gouge consumers. Inflation in Venezuela is running at over 50 percent and shortages of basic goods have reached record levels.