Last night, Tibisay Lucena – the head of the Consejo Nacional Electoral – announced that the electoral campaign for the December 6 parliamentary elections would officially begin on November 13. Although National Assembly candidates and high-profile elected officials have already been campaigning for at least the last several weeks, the rules become stricter during the official campaign period.

The campaign period will last from 6:00 AM on November 13 to midnight on December 3. The elections are on December 6.

Lucena said that public officials would not be allowed to campaign for National Assembly candidates during the campaign period. The same ban goes for every national, state, regional, and municipal institution. Lucena also said that television networks would be allowed to play three minutes of political ads each day. Radio stations will be allowed four minutes of ads per day. Newspapers will be allowed to publish half a page or a full page of political ads per day, depending on whether the publication is “standard” or “tabloid” sized. Individual candidates are also allowed to send up to three text messages for campaign purposes per day.

During the same press conference, Lucena said that the state of exception affecting 23 municipalities along the border with Colombia “does not affect the sphere of political rights” for voters, and that her office had not observed any election-related irregularities in the affected areas.

European Deputy: No Fraud in Venezuela, But Gov’t Has Upper Hand

Spanish European Parliament deputy Ramon Jauregui said that he believes that while there is no outright fraud taking place in the Venezuelan parliamentary elections, it is clear that the government has “many more advantages” than the opposition. Jauregui is the head of an European Parliament mission to Venezuela that is scheduled to complete its work there tomorrow.

Jauregui also called Diosdado Cabello’s refusal to meet with his delegation “absurd”, since he believes that “the fundamental basis for democracy is the ability to dialogue”. According to Jauregui, Cabello’s stance is detrimental to the Venezuelan government’s position:

This is the Venezuelan government’s problem, not ours, since they’re losing the opportunity to explain to us their point of view, to convince us that this electoral process is clean.

Jauregui also said that he wants to believe that the elections will be fair, but that he wishes he could personally hear that from Venezuelan authorities themselves. However, he also said that he personally believes that the Venezuelan electoral system “does not allow vote manipulation”, but that it’s clear that the government enjoys advantages not afforded to the opposition. He explained:

My personal view is that this has been happening, and it is probably happening now. This should also be confirmed. [We should] have accurate measures of what the reality is so that we don’t make unfounded comments.

On the CNE’s refusal to allow international observers to take part in the elections, Jauregui said that he considered it a “bad” stance, and that what little international scrutiny the CNE has agreed to on the day of the election “is not international observation”.

UNASUR Approves Observer Mission

UNASUR has finalized plans to send an observer mission to Venezuela for  the parliamentary elections. No more details are known at this time.

Luis Emilio Rondon, the CNE’s principal rector, reminded all international observers that regardless of the status of their mission, they must check-in with CNE authorities in Venezuela in order to approve their observer status. Rondon said:

International [observers]: whoever doesn’t have formal accreditation from the institution [CNE] will not be able to enter any of the voting centres. That’s why it’s important to be organized, to send the CNE a list of all [observers] to evaluate them and accredit them.

Venezuela Requests Maduro Speak Before UNHRC

The Venezuelan delegation at the United Nations Human Right’s Council has asked the body to allow Maduro to address it, tentatively on Thursday of next week. It is not known at this time why the request was made, or what the purpose of Maduro’s talk would be.

State of Exception Extended in Zulia State

Gaceta Oficial 40.782, out today, has extended the state of exception in three municipalities in Zulia state for 60 more days. The affected municipalities are Guajira, Mara, and Almirante Padilla.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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