The World Association of Jurists published this Saturday a statement signed by more than 1,000 legal professionals from several countries denouncing that the December 6 parliamentary elections in Venezuela "lack the necessary guarantees to be considered valid elections.
According to the opinion of these professionals, the elections, which have not been recognized by the European Union (EU) or the Organization of American States (OAS), will be "null and void".
The WJA (World Jurist Association), based in Washington and presided over by Javier Cremades of Spain, wants to "warn world public opinion about Nicolas Maduro's attempts to elect a new National Assembly through a convocation that does not meet the minimum democratic requirements.
After "five years of contempt for the National Assembly by an illegitimate executive, the elections called will be held amidst evident signs of lack of transparency and harassment of the few unwelcome candidates to the government," he adds.
The signatories call attention to the fact that the Supreme Court of Justice, "in violation of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, appointed the five rectors of the National Electoral Council, allowing them to modify the electoral laws at their discretion".
Among the signatories are Álvaro Rodríguez Bereijo, President Emeritus of the Spanish Constitutional Court and writer of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and Viviane Reding, former Vice President of the European Commission and former Justice Commissioner.
David Mills, professor of law at Stanford Law School, Augusto Trujillo, president of the Colombian Academy of Jurisprudence, and Johann Kriegler, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa until 2002 and considered an authority on electoral processes, also signed the declaration.
In Venezuela "we are witnessing the steps taken by an old democracy towards the strengthening of a dictatorship," said Kriegler, who was the president of the Independent Electoral Commission that would carry out the first elections with real universal suffrage in South Africa after "apartheid" and was a collaborator of Nelson Mandela.
On the basis of the information provided and in the absence of the political and legal guarantees already mentioned, which are necessary for elections to be considered free and democratic, the signatories of the declaration consider that "such elections are invalid and reject their holding".
Consequently, they consider that, in order to guarantee the protection of human rights in that country, the legitimacy of the current Venezuelan National Assembly "must be preserved until truly free, inclusive and democratic elections are called".
Beyond the questioning of its transparency, tomorrow's elections will be held in the midst of a very serious crisis that has 80% of Venezuelan citizens in a situation of extreme poverty and the coronavirus pandemic, which has left 912 dead in the South American country.
A little more than 20 million Venezuelans are called to choose 277 deputies among some 14,400 candidates. The traditional leaders of the opposition are not in that range of candidates, since they chose to abstain from participating in these elections because they consider them fraudulent.
Even though the big names of the opposition will not go to the elections, some of their parties, intervened by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), will.
Abstain or vote, last call for the Venezuelan elections
Venezuelans held their last day of reflection before the parliamentary elections on Saturday, amidst calls from Chavismo to vote "for peace" and from the opposition forces led by Juan Guaidó, who have asked citizens to stay home and abstain from participating.
"There are 12 hours left until a beautiful sunrise and the beginning of the popular voting process (...), if you want peace, if you want democracy, exercise your right to vote tomorrow, Sunday," said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro today during a working event broadcast by the public television station VTV.
Maduro also introduced former Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is leading a delegation of political figures from that country to be observed by Venezuelan parliamentarians.
Together with the Venezuelan President, his wife and candidate to occupy one of the 277 seats in the unicameral National Assembly (NA, Parliament), Cilia Flores, supported the call for participation made by the Chavista ruler and affirmed that in the electoral card there are options "for all tastes".
"There are opposition parties" in the elections, said Flores, whom Maduro publicly calls first combatant to avoid referring to her as first lady.
But the candidate did not clarify that the main opposition parties - like the historic Acción Democrática - will take part in these elections after the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) suspended its old directives, which called for abstention, and imposed others.
In addition, and as expected, the historic leaders of these opposition groups remain on the sidelines of the elections, which they reject, and this very Saturday called again for a boycott of them.
"This December 6th, to vote for the kidnapped Democratic Action (AD) card is to vote for the regime Don't be fooled, AD does not participate in the fraud," wrote opposition leader Henry Ramos on Twitter, who identifies himself on the social network as AD's national secretary general, a position in which the National Electoral Council recognizes Bernabé Gutiérrez, a former collaborator of Ramos.
"We are a few hours away from another electoral fraud in Venezuela (...), the true democratic activists do not go out to endorse this electoral farce", said, meanwhile, Representative Carlos Prósperi, a collaborator of Ramos.
Stay at home
Guaidó, for his part, once again asked Venezuelans not to participate in the elections, which he called a "farce", as a way of demonstrating "rejection" of the Maduro Administration, a former bus driver who has governed this South American nation since 2013.
"The call to Venezuelans is to stay at home (?), tomorrow (Sunday) is a day to demonstrate rejection, repudiation (of the Nicolas Maduro government)," he said.
The opposition leader also pointed out that the legislative election is intended to "annihilate the democratic alternative" in Venezuela.
"That is the intention of the dictatorship, they are not interested in legitimacy", he added.
More than 20.7 million Venezuelans are called to the polls this Sunday, December 6, to renew the unicameral Parliament of Venezuela, the only power that controls the opposition.
The Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino, said today that the Armed Forces are "deployed" in an operation known as Plan República, which guarantees the security of the equipment and electoral centers in the more than 29,600 voting tables.
"Everything is going very well, the Bolivarian National Armed Force (is) deployed throughout the national territory (...), everything is in its place, you are missing, dear brother, dear sister, we expect you tomorrow, participating is very important", insisted the minister in a video divulged in Twitter.
As a response to the elections, Guaidó called a popular consultation, to be held between December 7 and 12, in which citizens will respond if they reject the parliamentary elections, if they demand "the end of the usurpation" of the Presidency by Maduro and if they "order" the necessary steps to "rescue" democracy.
Guaidó said today that participating in this consultation will be a "challenge" to Maduro's government, which he described as a "dictatorship", and he predicted the persecution, in the coming days, of the opposition leaders who promote this mechanism.