Iris Varela says that the current National Assembly could approve a law granting President Hugo Chavez special powers (Ley Habilitante) if he requests them. A special powers law would allow Chavez to legislate by decree.
Chavez has been granted special powers to legislate by decree three times previously, in 1999, 2001 and 2007.
Constitutional lawyer Tulio Álvarez cautions that the current assembly could grant Chavez indefinite special powers – indefinite, meaning for the remainder of his current term.
The Bolivarian Constitution of 1999 does not set any limits on the scope and duration of any special powers granted by law to the president, he adds, explaining that Art. 203 says that legislators will define the scope and duration of any special powers.
The new National Assembly that sessions as of 5 January 2011 could remove/suspend any special powers granted to Chavez by the current assembly, but would require at least 99 votes to do so. However, the opposition does not have 99 votes in the new assembly.