Venezuelan Opposition Asks for Elections as a Basis for Dialogue with the Government

Caracas, Venezuela hillside.  Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Venezuelan opposition groups announced on Friday that they have presented a document to facilitators in the dialogue process with the Government, repeating their conditions for a possible agreement, which include holding elections to overcome the national crisis, reported dpa news.

The opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) issued a statement where it repeated its conditions for returning  to talks with the government, which were suspended last December.

The document criticized the fact that while President Nicolas Maduro’s government is talking about establishing a dialogue, it is trying to ban opposition parties with laws passed by the National Electoral Council (CNE) to renew their records which the MUD has already claimed to be “impossible” to comply with.

It reminded the Government that, on January 20, dialogue facilitators, the secretary general of UNASUR, Ernesto Samper; former presidents of Panama, Martin Torrijos; of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez; of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio in Venezuela, Aldo Giordano, handed over a 21 point plan to the MUD in order to restart the dialogue process.

This document was then studied and when it was rejected, MUD announced that it would present a counter-proposal, where it would collect democratic society’s demands from the government, after it specified that the dialogue process had ended.

The government reported that it gave the facilitators MUD’s response to the January 20th proposal, which was called “Agreement to overcome the national political and social crisis”, to facilitators.

It explained that the document was centered on four basic demands:

The date elections would be held to overcome the crisis; the release of all political prisoners; attention to the humanitarian crisis due to the lack of food and medicine, and respect for the sovereignty of the National Assembly, which has an opposition-led majority.

“We would like to clarify that these aren’t the “items on the agenda” to start a dialogue, but the foundations of any possible agreement, provided that this agreement has enough additional measures for it to be verified independently and its obligatory execution,” it pointed out.

As well as insisting on their demands, the MUD said that Maduro’s Government “is pushing Venezuela towards the depths of violence, by closing off the political channels that exist to resolve this conflict.”

“The regime hijacks referendums, suspends elections, arrests city councilmen, mayors and legislators thereby violating the law and congressional privilege, voiding opposition parliament members’ passports and now wants to make altogether illegal the opposition parties,” it added.

The MUD said that the conditions that the CNE were imposing to legalize these parties are impossible to meet, with the limited time they have to collect signatures from their sympathizers, suggesting that their objective is to ban opposition groups.

The opposition maintains that the CNE is imposing that parties are renewed in order to hold off elections for governors and mayors for a little while longer, which were to take place in June and December, but still haven’t been formally called for yet.