Maduro's son joins disputed Venezuela assembly

Caracas (AFP) –


The 27-year-old son of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was confirmed on Tuesday as one of the 545 members of a new, all-powerful assembly whose creation has sparked protests and international condemnation.

Nicolas Ernesto Maduro Guerra, also known as "Nicolasito" or "little Nicolas," will join his stepmother, Maduro's wife Cilia Flores, 60, on the Constituent Assembly that was elected on Sunday to rewrite Venezuela's constitution.

His seat on the new body, confirmed by the electoral authority, will be his first foray into a higher-profile public role at age 27.

The economist by training already has served as head of the national film institute and in the vice president's office as a head of presidential delegations. Previously, he headed an anti-corruption office in the president's office.

Maduro insisted on seeing the assembly elected, despite objections from the opposition that it would undermine democracy by superseding the opposition-dominated congress.

The vote was marred by deadly protests, adding to a death toll of 125 in the past four months in demonstrations against Maduro and against the assembly.

The opposition also said turnout was far lower than the eight million voters the electoral authority claimed.

Maduro's son, who played the flute in Venezuela's system of youth orchestras, is a committed follower of the socialist revolution incarnated by the president and his late predecessor Hugo Chavez, according to his Twitter profile.

Two thirds of the new assembly were drawn geographically, from municipalities, and the rest were elected from societal and industry sectors.

The opposition did not field any candidates and boycotted the election, meaning the Constituent Assembly is made up of followers and allies of Maduro's Socialist Party.