Wednesday, January 20

A Venezuela in reflection refines its machinery for legislative elections

Venezuela entered this Friday into a reflection period and put the accelerator on the final preparations for the legislative elections this Sunday, in which 20.7 million citizens are called to choose 277 deputies among some 14,400 applicants.

The first day that the political campaign is prohibited, the National Electoral Council (CNE) captured the attention by reporting on the latest deployments for these polls, in which the majority opposition led by Juan Guaidó will not participate, current head of the National Assembly (Parliament).

Voting tables

The CNE began to install voting tables, a process that was carried out simultaneously in the 14,221 centers authorized for these elections and that, according to the electoral referee, had international observers who have arrived in the country.

“Today, December 4, the installation of the polling stations for the elections to the National Assembly (Parliament) 2020 is carried out. The Electoral Power advances in its schedule and guarantees the transparency of the process,” the institution reported on its Twitter account .

Later, in a statement, the CNE explained that a total of 14 foreign observers witnessed the installation of tables in the electoral center where Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro votes, located in western Caracas.

“The installation consists of opening the electoral party, checking that the supplies (materials) are complete and installing and verifying the proper functioning of the electronic equipment, including the voting machine,” reads the CNE letter.

Observers in the field

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Spanish former deputy Javier Couso are some of the international guests who arrived in Venezuela in the last hours to accompany these elections that will not be recognized by the European Union (EU) or by the Organization of American States (OAS).

Correa met with the president of the CNE, Indira Alfonzo, while Couso, an outspoken defender of the so-called Bolivarian revolution, participated along with other observers in a meeting with the president of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), Maikel Moreno.

According to a statement from the Supreme Court, this activity was attended by delegates from the Council of Latin American Electoral Experts (Ceela) as well as other entities identified under the names of the Observatory of Latin American Affairs and the Independent Electoral Commission.

To all of them, Moreno “thanked them for their participation in the international electoral monitoring program for the elections.”

Electoral propaganda ban

In addition to the prohibition of political acts and the dissemination of propaganda in the media, they are prohibited from publishing surveys by order of the CNE and the Executive.

Among the other restrictions contemplated by the electoral norm, the so-called dry law stands out, which began to govern this Friday and will keep the sale of liquors suspended until Tuesday, December 8.

For their part, the authorities monitor compliance with regulations such as the ban on flying unmanned aircraft (drones) during these days, as well as holding massive public meetings.

A classic rule in Venezuela every time elections are held, which have been carried out 25 processes so far this century, is the border closure, a measure that this time has not had to be taken, since these steps have been closed since March due to the covid-19 pandemic, which has left 909 deaths in the country.

Opposition to consultation

For its part, The Venezuelan opposition led by Guaidó presented this Friday the alternatives to vote in the consultation they have organized, in which they will ask citizens if they reject the legislative elections, for which they proposed to use Telegram and another application called Voatz, as well as a website created for the event.

At a press conference, politician Emilio Graterón, a member of the organizing committee, assured that citizens interested in voting will have “four doors of entry.” The first three are Voatz, Telegram and the web, they are available from next Monday until December 12.

The fourth option is face-to-face participation on December 12 at some 7,000 tables set up in “more than 3,000 points of expression of will.”

In the popular consultation, which will not be binding, citizens will also be asked if they demand “the cessation of the usurpation of the Presidency by Nicolás Maduro and calls for free, fair and verifiable presidential and parliamentary elections.”

Although the big names in the opposition will not go to the elections, their parties will, intervened by the TSJ.

After the intervention, the Supreme Court appointed former militants expelled from the organizations and accused of corruption by their former colleagues as party leaders, leaving aside those politicians who led them up to that moment.

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