Juan Guaidó has labelled Nicolás Maduro a “usurper”, basing this on the fact that the elections through which he secured his second term as president were widely contested as illegitimate both nationally and internationally. As such, Guaidó is invoking Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution to assert that in the face of a power vacuum (since, according to him, Maduro is not a legitimate president) it is the President of the National Assembly who must temporarily assume the Executive branch and call fresh elections.
Article 233 reads: ” The following shall be absolute absences of the President of the Republic: death, resignation, removal from office ordered by a decision of the Supreme Court of Justice, permanent physical or mental incapacity certified by a medical board appointed by the Supreme Court of Justice and with the approval of the National Assembly, abandonment of office declared by the National Assembly, as well as popular revocation of office.
When there is an absolute absence of the President-elect before taking office, fresh, direct and secret universal elections shall be held within thirty consecutive days. While the new President is being elected and takes office, the President of the National Assembly shall be in charge of the Presidency of the Republic. […]”