Venezuela’s new congress, now dominated by opponents of the socialist administration, is being sworn in today amid duelling street demonstrations, mutual accusations of subverting democracy and a looming potential for violence.

With the seating of the newly elected National Assembly, it will be the first time in 16 years that opponents of the socialist revolution begun by the late President Hugo Chavez will control any institution in the South American country.

The Supreme Court last week barred three opposition lawmakers from taking their seats, responding to a challenge by supporters of the socialists who accuse the opposition of stealing the December 6th legislative election.

That ruling could snatch away the opposition’s two-thirds majority, which it will need to make any major move, such as firing top officials or rewriting the constitution.

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