Elections in Venezuela: Maduro regime established that presidential elections will be held on July 28

A woman votes in the 2020 election (Europa Press)
A woman votes in the 2020 election (Europa Press)

Venezuelan election officials announced on Tuesday that the next presidential elections will be held 28th Julyin which it is expected Nicolas Maduro Seeking re-election and while the disqualification of main opposition candidate María Corina Machado has been upheld.

National Electoral Council (CNE) President Elvis Amoroso indicated that the program was approved “unanimously” after “evaluating and studying all the proposals” presented by the Legislature, including 27 different dates Between mid-April and early December.

The announcement came four days after the Venezuelan National Assembly, with a pro-government majority, submitted to the electoral authority a document on the terms of the next presidential election, in which President Nicolas Maduro can run for re-election.

Maria Corina Machado (EFE/Reiner Pena R)
Maria Corina Machado (EFE/Reiner Pena R)

The document was not signed by the main opposition coalition, the so-called Democratic Unitary Platform, which is backed by Washington and whose candidate, María Corina Machado, has been disqualified from holding public office by Venezuelan authorities.

Machado won the opposition primary last October With an overwhelming majority.

The election authority made no reference to what would happen to his candidacy or other opposition names that are disqualified. Amoroso, who previously headed Venezuela’s Comptroller General, imposed political disqualification on Machado for 15 years until the end of June 2023.

According to the comptroller’s office, the former lawmaker took part in a corruption conspiracy masterminded by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself interim president while leading the National Assembly in 2019. The controller’s office did not present evidence.

Juan Guaidó (Reuters/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria)
Juan Guaidó (Reuters/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria)

But Machado was not part of the National Assembly headed by Guaidó and was among his harshest critics.

His disqualification was confirmed by the Supreme Court in late January, although Machado said he does not recognize that resolution and has continued his tours around the country.

Candidates can apply between March 21 and 25As announced by the President of the CNE, and the campaign will run from 4 to 25 July.

To participate in the elections, new voters will have to register between March 18 and April 16.

The Assembly had proposed 27 different dates for the presidential election between mid-April and early December. Pro-government legislators assured that they had the participation of 43 parties in the preparation of the document, representing 97% of the organizations legally registered in the CNE.

Some of these parties are now led by opposition dissidents, as the Supreme Court has given them the addresses, symbols, colors and cards of the three major opposition parties: First Justice, Democratic Action and Popular Will.

Jorge Rodríguez, president of the National Assembly and a close ally of Maduro, repeatedly stated when making the decision that the proposal was not intended to replace the CNE, which is responsible for organizing national, state and municipal elections.

By choosing the later date of July 1, the CNE allows the Maduro administration to adhere to part of the agreement signed in October with the Unitary Forum on the Caribbean island of Barbados, which called for holding presidential elections in the second half of 2024. He proposed to work on a plan that would create political conditions for holding free and competitive elections.

Among the electoral guarantees included in the legislative proposal is “equality in participation in the media and social networks” regardless of the size of the parties.

Critics of the government condemn that the Maduro administration has not yet taken concrete steps to guarantee transparent and fair presidential elections.

Over the years, international observer missions have condemned irregularities affecting equal conditions for competition in Venezuela’s electoral processes, such as the disqualification of opposition candidates, the use of state resources in campaigns, and unequal access to the media.

In Venezuela, political disqualification is a subsidiary penalty that is imposed upon receipt of a final judicial decision. Critics of Chávez and Maduro, including Machado, denounced that disqualification has been used as a political weapon for years.

(With information from AP)

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