Venezuela’s top court, the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), cut its holiday vacation short today and accepted PSUV challenges against eight MUD deputies elected during the December 6 parliamentary elections. The TSJ has yet to announce its decision on the challenges, but has confirmed that it is investigating the eight cases before its Sala Electoral [Electoral Hall].
The PSUV has challenged the election results in the following eight districts, all of which went to the opposition:
- Amazonas state, District 1: Won by Nirma Guarulla with 49.87% of the vote (32,620 votes).
- Yaracuy state, District 2: Won by Luis Parra with 50.66% of the vote (48,361 votes).
- Aragua state, District 2: Won by Amelia Belisario with 25.87% of the vote (113.624 votes).
- Aragua state, District 3: Won by Karina Salanova with 48.52% of the vote (69,140 votes).
- Aragua state, District 4: Won by Simon Calzadilla with 25.89% of the vote (87,891 votes).
- Indigenous Representative, South Region: Won by Romel Guzamana with 48.71% of the vote (122.331 votes).
The head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, reacted to the news of the challenges through Twitter, saying that a “defeated” PSUV was trying to go against “the will of the people” through the measure. He called the move a “judicial coup”.
If the TSJ were to accept even one challenge and award the seat to the PSUV candidate, the MUD would lose the 2/3 majority it currently has in the National Assembly.
Torrealba also stressed that the MUD would remain unified through the ordeal, and that “the hegemony of the [PSUV] has come to an end”.
MUD Looks To Draft Anti-Discrimination Law
The secretary general of the Primero Justicia party, Tomas Guanipa, announced yesterday afternoon that the bloc would work to pass a law to prohibit workers from being fired for political reasons.
The announcement comes in light of recent statements by Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez, who said last week during a PSUV rally that he would fire anyone who voted for the opposition from the state-owned electrical company CORPOELEC. Below, a video of Dominguez’s comments along with my translation:
Dominguez: Gentlemen — as comrade [unintelligible] used to say, we have to review the structures and radicalize ourselves! I will radicalize myself today more than ever. Everyone who is a escualido [derogatory term for opposition supporter]: get out of the company [CORPOELEC]! Get out of the company! I’m asking you to help me find the people who are sabotaging and who don’t allow the company to move forward.
During the announcement, Guanipa referenced Dominguez’s comments, saying:
We’ve seen how the president of CORPOELEC [Dominguez] has said that he would fire everyone who thought differently from the company. That company does not belong to you, sir. If one thing is clear it is that the vast majority of Venezuelans rejected people like you, and talking about persecuting workers does nothing but show a great deal of contempt that the people – who only hope to have a government that works for them – will feel.
MUD To Elect National Assembly President on Sunday
The MUD announced earlier today that it would elect its first president to the National Assembly on Sunday. The MUD’s 112 deputy-elects will vote on who will fill the seat.
According to El Nacional, the list of likely winners includes Julio Borges (Primero Justicia) and Henry Ramos Allup (Accion Democratica). Borges and Allup received the greatest overall number of votes in their respective districts in the December 6 parliamentary elections.
Maduro Set to Announce New Laws Passed by Decree Tonight
Maduro is set to announce an unspecified number of laws he will pass by decree some time this evening. On March 15 of this year, the National Assembly granted Maduro decree powers through the Ley Habilitante, which allows Maduro to pass laws unilaterally. His decree powers are set to expire on December 31.
Vice-President Jorge Arreaza hinted during a press conference earlier today that one of the laws Maduro would pass would seek to preserve for posterity the Cuartel de la Montaña, the mausoleum that holds Chavez’s remains in Caracas.If true, the move appears to be in response to fears that the MUD would attempt to tamper with the building in some way through legislation.
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