Venezuela's top court approves economic emergency powers

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s Supreme Court has approved President Nicolas Maduro’s request for a 60-day extension of an economic emergency decree that had been rejected by the opposition-controlled congress.

The high court issued its ruling late Thursday night, giving Maduro expanded powers to rescue the South American economy from a plunge in oil prices that has deepened a crisis marked by widespread shortages and triple-digit inflation.

Venezuela’s opposition accuses the government-stacked high court of overstepping its authority by granting Maduro’s request. Critics blame Maduro’s rigid control of the economy for the crisis and have been pushing for his removal.

Since first being granted the special powers in February, Maduro has devalued the currency and raised the world’s cheapest gasoline prices to help make up for a steep decline in government revenues.