Venezuela’s supreme court, which is controlled by President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government, has ruled it is taking over the opposition-dominated National Assembly, sparking fears that the crisis-riven country has moved towards full-blown dictatorship. Venezuela’s political factions have been at loggerheads since the opposition won control of the legislature in 2015 congressional elections, ending over a decade of near-complete governing control by the ruling socialist coalition. The court ruling was a sign “that the country’s political system is crumbling, and fast,” said Peter Schechter, senior vice-president of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America centre at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC. “If there was any doubt before, there should no longer be one: Venezuela is a dictatorship.” The Supreme Court has overturned almost every piece of legislation the assembly has passed since the opposition took control, arguing it only won due to voter fraud in three districts, the basis of its latest ruling. “The Constitutional Chamber shall ensure that the parliamentary powers are exercised directly by this Chamber or by the body it appoints to ensure the rule of law,” the decision said. The ruling late on Wednesday night was the first time it has said it would directly assume Congress’s functions. It added that it would now authorise Mr Maduro to create oil joint ventures, bypassing the constitutional need for Congressional approval.