Venezuelan opposition parties refuse to participate in legislative elections

Opponents consider them a "fraud"
Session of the Venezuelan National Assembly in Caracas, September 24, 2019

REUTERS/IVAN ALVARADO  -   Session of the Venezuelan National Assembly in Caracas, September 24, 2019

The 27 parties that make up the bulk of the Venezuelan opposition, which includes all those currently represented in parliament outside of Chavismo, agreed on Sunday that they will not run in the legislative elections on December 6, considering them a "fraud".

"Having exhausted all our efforts nationally and internationally so that we would have a competitive electoral process (...) the democratic political organizations of Venezuela declare (...) that, in a unanimous manner, we decided not to participate in the electoral fraud called by the regime of (Nicolás) Maduro," a statement said.

The document has been signed by 27 parties, including the four that make up the so-called G4: Primero Justicia, of which Henrique Capriles is a member; Voluntad Popular, led by Leopoldo López; as well as the Social Democrats Acción Democrática and Un Nuevo Tiempo.

They denounce that Maduro is preventing a free election

"Nicolas Maduro's regime, using the control it exercises over all public powers in Venezuela, ended the possibility of having any kind of free and competitive choice," they say.

As part of the offensive that they consider the Venezuelan president is making against the electoral process, they stated that in the legislative elections of 2015, the parties that were united as "democratic unity" were consolidated with a joint card that they consider has been "hijacked by the regime, preventing its use due to precautionary measures. In addition, "the directors who represent the Unit as an organization are still subject to criminal proceedings".

They also cite the appointment of a new president for the National Electoral Council (CNE), Indira Alfonzo, who has already "disregarded popular sovereignty and has kept the state of Amazonas without parliamentary representation. Alfonzo was sanctioned in May 2018 by the Canadian government "in response to the illegitimate and undemocratic presidential elections" that were held at the time and in which Maduro was re-elected as president. The appointment was to be made by the NA but was taken up by the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ), which considered that Parliament would not make the appointment as it should.

They are asking for the restoration of suffrage for all Venezuelans

Faced with this situation, they reiterated their proposals to be able to run in the elections that begin with the "restoration of the right to vote for all Venezuelans," which includes the nearly five million who, according to the UN, have emigrated.

They also demand a guarantee that "the vote will be exercised freely, without coercion or intimidation", as well as a "ban on the migration of voters from their natural polling stations" and the "cessation of disqualifications and prosecution of political leaders", among others, such as the appointment of an independent CNE.

The lack of these conditions leads them to believe that "any possibility of considering the process called for as an electoral process is nullified".

Finally, the 27 parties claim that they are not "abstentionists", since "there is no abstention when what is called for is not an election" and invite the international community not to recognize the result.

"We are democrats and we believe in national unity: that is why we decided not to collaborate with the strategy of the dictatorship and to call on all social and political forces in the country to build a new unitary pact and a new democratic offensive in which, together with the Venezuelan people and the international community, we will mobilize to achieve the salvation of Venezuela," they underline.

They promise to fight for free elections

That is why they add that their "struggle has been and will continue to be so that all Venezuelans can have free, fair and verifiable elections, and that change takes place" so that Venezuela "can emerge from the humanitarian crisis and misery into which the Maduro dictatorship has sunk.

Three of the four main opposition parties, Acción Democrática, Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, received a judicial blow when the TSJ appointed new directives for these formations, now led by dissidents expelled from the organizations and closer to Chavismo.

Thus, the leaders of these parties were judicially removed and those appointed by the Supreme Court, accused of allowing themselves to be bribed by their former comrades, will be the ones to guide the parties to the elections. That will make the logos and colors of those three parties on the electoral cards, although it will not be under the leadership of those who were elected by the parties themselves to lead them.