Venezuelan Opposition Still Undecided on Participation in Elections

The inflatable Chavez. Photo: Caridad


HAVANA TIMES – The Venezuelan opposition continues to debate and delay its decision on whether or not to participate in the presidential elections on April 22, in which President Nicolas Maduro assures his reelection with or without opposition.

Four days before the deadline for registration of the candidates, the opposition coalition Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD) still has not defined its position, reported dpa news.

The coalition itself and several of the leading potential opposition candidates were banned by the government from running.

One of the major parties that make up the coalition, Primero Justicia, announced today that it will not participate in the elections, which it described as an “electoral farce.” It is also expected that the country’s oldest party, Acción Democrática (AD), will join that position.

Previously, the parties of Leopoldo López, Voluntad Popular (under house arrest), and former union leader Andrés Velásquez, Causa Radical, said they were withdrawing from the electoral event.

Despite the growing atmosphere for not participating, the leader of the Progressive Alliance party, Henri Falcón, maintains his position of registering despite the lack of conditions for fair elections.

The MUD has until Friday to fix a position on their participation, because on Saturday and Sunday will be the registration of candidates for the presidency.

The president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, said today in a press conference that the electoral guarantees for the elections will be those established in the agreement between the Government and the opposition in the framework of negotiations with the opposition in the Dominican Republic.

However, the legislator Julio Borges, leader of Primero Justicia and head of the opposition mission in the dialogue of Santo Domingo, criticized Lucena by reminding her that the talks did not reach an agreement.

“In the Dominican Republic, despite internal and external pressures, I refused to sign a document where the conditions for free and democratic elections were not established,” he said on his Twitter account.

Borges demanded as guarantees an election in the constitutional framework with a viable date, free participation without political prisoners or disqualified candidates, conditions for Venezuelans abroad to vote and professional international election observation.

Lucena said that the CNE will invite a United Nations mission as a companion to the process.

The opposition also added to the debate a controversial proposal of the Maduro supporters, which dominate the all-powerful Constituent Assembly, to advance the legislative elections of 2020, so that they are done together with the presidential ones.

The #2 man of the Chavistas, Diosdado Cabello, confirmed that he will propose to the Constituent Assembly that the legislative elections coincide with the presidential ones. He said that his proposal is due to what he considers the political “vacuum” that represents the inaction of the Assembly.

The proposal aims to totally disarm the National Assembly (Congress), whose opposition majority has been annulled by judicial decisions sponsored by the Government.

Lucena said she has not yet received a proposal on the matter and that until now the CNE is only working on the presidential timetable.