Venezuela's attorney general challenges plan to rewrite constitution

Venezuela's chief prosecutor asked the Supreme Court to block President Nicolas Maduro's plan to convene an assembly to revise the constitution, further deepening her divide with the government.

Luisa Ortega Diaz accused Maduro and his administration of "destroying the legacy" of the late President Hugo Chavez. "Chavismo is a current of thought, it's a philosophy of life, and this is the principal legacy of President Hugo Chavez," the attorney general said. 

Ortega Diaz's remarks were her strongest repudiation yet of Maduro's effort to rewrite the nation's constitution. She accused the National Electoral Council of breaking key democratic principles such as universal suffrage in approving Maduro's constitutional assembly. 

At a news conference, she called the presidential decree illegal "because it is the sovereign people who have the power" to demand a revision. "The appeal I am attempting is to defend the rule of the people," she said.

Maduro's political rivals cheered Ortega's move. "I applaud the fact that the prosecutor is acting constitutionally," opposition leader Henrique Capriles said.

Freddy Guevara, vice president of the opposition-led National Assembly, wrote on Twitter urging "hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans" to show their support for Ortega's appeal.