During a March 31 televised broadcast of the Public Ministry's yearly performance report, Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz said that the country's constitutional order had been broken. She then listed several ways the supreme court allegedly violated the law with its March 29 decision to annul to the opposition-controlled National Assembly, calling the move unconstitutional. The supreme court ruled to assume the powers of parliament March 29 and determined that previous congressional actions violated constitutional order because they failed to heed a prior ruling from the court. Ortega is a longtime ally of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) of President Nicolas Maduro and had strong ties with former President Hugo Chavez.
The U.S. government, Organization of American States (OAS), European Union and several regional governments have also condemned the supreme court decision. Ortega's comments are notable because it marks the first major break of a sitting public official from the Maduro government. Ortega's televised feed on VTV, the state broadcaster, was cut after her critical statement. Ortega did not express support for the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), only saying that the constitutional order that Chavez's constitution created had been broken. Maduro can continue his attempts to consolidate power without the help of Ortega. Although Ortega has been attorney general since 2007, she is not an indispensable figure. Maduro and his allies are consolidating power and trying to prolong the PSUV's political survival.