The repudiation of the 2018 presidential election led to the international recognition of the National Assembly speaker, Juan Guaidó, as Interim President, until free and fair elections are held. As stated by Miguel Angel Lara “it is Guaidó, a democratic leader who is calling for internationally supervised free and fair elections, and not Maduro, a dictator who barely keeps a democratic façade, who should be regarded and recognized as Venezuela’s president”. Despite this international support, Maduro has preserved power, while the fragility of Venezuela is dramatically increasing.
Considering the several international statements that rejected the 2018 election, it is possible to conclude that any election held in Venezuela, under the same -or worst- conditions than the 2018 presidential election, should follow the same result: the international and national repudiation.
In June 2020, Nicolás Maduro announced parliamentary elections for December 6, 2020. In just a few weeks, the Supreme Tribunal adopted several rulings that reduced the already weak electoral integrity conditions. Following the report prepared by IDEA and the Catholic University Andrés Bello, these are the principles restrictions that were introduced:
a) The Supreme Tribunal appointed the five directors of the electoral authority, the National Electoral Council, although the Constitution establishes that only the National Assembly could appoint those directors through public hearings conducted by civil society organizations.
b) The Supreme Tribunal overruled the electoral laws, authorizing the new National Electoral Council to enact “electoral laws” (an authority exclusively vested in the National Assembly). Also, the new laws enacted by the electoral authority was grossly arbitrary: the number of deputies was increased, the direct vote of the indigenous population was suppressed, and the international observation was dramatically reduced.
c) Finally, the Supreme Tribunal intervened three of the main political parties of the opposition, creating “ad-hoc boards” that favored Maduro’s plan. This is a perfect example of the opposition political co-optation. Maduro was able to simulate competitiveness condition with a co-opted opposition, while the deputies of the National Assembly has been subject to political persecution, as was recently concluded by the Human Right Council’s Report of the independent international fact-finding mission on Venezuela
According to the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, in a June 2020 statement, the deterioration of the electoral integrity conditions reduced “the democratic space in the country to a minimum and create additional obstacles to the resolution of the profound political crisis in Venezuela”. Neither the European Union nor the Organization of American States accepted Maduro’s invitation to participate as electoral observers based on the lack of electoral conditions. The democratic opposition, represented in the 2015 National Assembly, decided to boycott the election.
Considering those reasons, the 2020 parliamentary elections were less competitive than the rigged presidential election of 2018. Additional evidence is the turnout: based on the information provided by the electoral authority, just 30.5% of the voters participated in the election, for a total of 6.251.080 votes. This is the lowest turnout of the recent national elections held in Venezuela:
This post was originally published on Radio Free.