It is 11:55 EST time (12:25 AM Caracas time). The Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) has yet to officially announce the results of today’s parliamentary election.
The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica‘s campaign headquarters has been alluding to a victory for several hours, citing their own internal numbers. However, these figures are unsubstantiated.
When the CNE makes the official announcement, I will update this post with the relevant information.
UPDATE: At 12:00 AM EST (12:30 AM Caracas time), Tibisay Lucena – the head of the Consejo Nacional Electoral – and the body’s four other rectors announced the result of the December 6 parliamentary elections.
Lucena announced the following results for the country’s 167-seat National Assembly:
- PSUV: 46
- Opposition: 99
The voter turnout was 74.25%. 19 circuits have not been decided.
In the extremely likely event that at least two of the 19 circuits yet to be decided go to the opposition, it would mean that the bloc would have a 3/5 majority in the National Assembly.
An informative pamphlet distributed online by the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica outlines the abilities the opposition has gained with its 3/5 majority. With a 3/5 majority, the opposition will be able to:
- Authorize the President to leave the country on official state business.
- Authorize the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia to bring National Assembly deputies to trial.
- Appoint Tribunal Supremo de Justicia magistrates.
- Authorize the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia to bring the President of the Republic to trial.
- Approve constitutional amendments.
- Grant decree powers to the President.
- Remove sitting ministers from their offices.
- Appoint and remove the members of the Consejo Nacional Electoral.
The result represents an unequivocal rejection of the ruling party, the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, and marks a new chapter in the history of Venezuelan politics.
Voting Hours Extended; CNE in Disarray
While every voting center in the country should have closed at 6:00 PM local time, CNE rector Sandra Oblitas extended voting hours to 7:00 PM shortly after six.
CNE rector Emilio Rondon immediately took to the media to say that “there was no need to extend [voting hours]“, and made clear that Venezuelan law does not allow for extension of voting hours. Instead, Rondon reminded, voting centres are allowed to remain open after closing hours only if electors are still in line to vote.
Rondon also said that he was not consulted about the extension, and that he found about it through the media.
Elections Off to Enthusiastic Start
19,496,296 electors were eligible to vote for the the National Assembly’s 167 deputies for the parliamentary session starting on January 5, 2016. Voting took place across 14,515 voting centres across the country which housed 40,601 voting tables.
Twitter users in Caracas posted pictures of long lines at some of the city’s voting centres early this morning:
La Patilla’s Roman Camacho (@) took the following photos in voting centres around Caracas:
Irregularities Reported Since Election Outset
Starting in the early morning hours, Twitter users began reporting irregularities with the electoral process. Electoral laws prohibit campaigning of any kind within 200 meters of a voting center.
Andreina Flores (@andreina) took a picture of a group of men on motorcycles driving around Montalban, Caracas with PSUV banners:
Roman Camacho photographed a group of men on motorcycles setting up a PSUV campaign tent in the Libertador municipality in Caracas. According to Camacho, UNASUR observers witnessed the event and left:
MoD: 34 Electoral Crimes Reported by Early Afternoon
Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez spoke to the media in the early afternoon to announce that while he was not aware of any acts of violence in the course of today’s election, his office did count 34 electoral crimes.
Lopez said that three men in army uniform attempted to gain entry to a voting center in Tachira state, and that the ministry was “investigating their intention”.
Diosdado Cabello Jokes After Voting
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello voted in Monagas state before lunch time, and made comments to the media gathered at the voting center that violate election law. Speaking to reporters after casting his vote, Cabello joked that opposition supporters should vote for the PSUV.
Below, a clip of Cabello’s comments along with my translation:
Cabello: … I hope that the opposition political leaders – who are the ones who always ignore the people’s will – understand and recognize what the CNE will announce later on today.
Reporter: Deputy, what do you say about comments that opposition voters don’t know who they’re voting for, and [unintelligible]?
Cabello: Ha! If they’re confused they should vote for the PSUV ticket. That way [their vote] won’t be lost.
Cabello voted along with his family, pictured below:
Pictures from Around the Country
There were also longs lines to start off the day in voting centres across the country’s other major cities.
At a voting center in San Felix, Bolivar state:
In San Cristobal, Tachira state:
Somewhere in Merida state:
Guarenas, Miranda state:
PSUV Governors Heckled After Voting
The governor of Barinas state, Adan Chavez, was heckled by a large crowd gathered outside a voting center in the state. When Chavez went to the center to vote, the crowd began to yell “Fuera! Fuera!” [“Get out!” or “Leave!”]. Below, a video of the event:
In Bolivar state, an angry crowd yelled “Ladron! Fuera! Corrupto!” [“Thief! Get out! You’re corrupt!”] at governor Francisco Rangel Gomez as he voted:
When Tachira state governor Jose Vielma Mora voted, a crowd chanted, “Si va a caer! Este gobierno va a caer!” [“Yes, it will! This government will fall!”]:
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