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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela's president and Supreme Court backed down Saturday from a surprise move to strip congress of its legislative powers that had sparked widespread charges that the South American country was no longer a democracy.

President Nicolas Maduro asked the Supreme Court in a late-night speech to review a ruling nullifying the lawmaking body after that decision set off a storm of criticism from the opposition and foreign governments. The court on Saturday released new rulings that apparently reinstated congress' authority.

It was a rare instance of the embattled socialist president backing away from a move to increase his power. Opposition leaders dismissed the backtracking as too little too late and called on Venezuelans to take to the street Saturday morning against what they called an attempted coup. They said the clarification issued by the judges only proved yet again that Maduro controls the courts and there is no longer a real separation of powers in Venezuela.

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