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The Consejo Nacional Electoral [National Electoral Council] (CNE) began the process today of renovating the official status of 59 political parties through a convoluted process that opposition figures have characterized as being designed to be impossible to complete. The process is widely regarded as having as its true purpose the elimination of as many political parties as possible.

National Assembly Simon Calzadilla denounced today that the process so far has been characterized by “general chaos”, and that he believes that a campaign of misinformation from the Maduro regime has resulted in extremely low turnouts at the handful of CNE centres which are supposed to tally support for individual parties in order to guarantee their renovation.

Calzadilla said:

There is general chaos and total disinformation. This was planned from the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), the CNE and the PSUV in order to put an end, to kill political parties in Venezuela.

Calzadilla pointed out that the renovation process is so patently designed to ensure that parties do not succeed in renovating their official status that even parties allied with the ruling PSUV have declined to participate.

The renovation process requires each of the 59 parties up for renovation to collect signatures from 0.5% of registered voters in at least twelve of the country’s states in just two days. The CNE only allotted 390 electronic voting machines for the entire process. Because Venezuela has 365 electoral districts, the overwhelming majority will be serviced by only one machine.

Although the process began this morning at 8:00 AM, the CNE only published the full schedule and the exact address of the voting machine’s locations yesterday. On top of that, the schedule that the CNE published contained erroneous information, since it stated that the process had begun last month when it in fact began today.

Anibal Sanchez, an electoral consultant, told El Nacional:

The CNE rectors have done everything possible to make sure that Venezuelans do not know about this process.

El Universal reports widespread irregularities with the renovation process, including machines that were not functioning properly, eating away at precious minuted parties need to collect signatures to ensure their survival. The newspaper reported that at least two municipalities in Barinas states did not having the electronic voting machines from the CNE as of 10:00 AM, even though the process began at 8:00 AM.

The newspaper reported very low turnout at a handful of CNE centres spread throughout Caracas.

At approximately 8:45 AM, Calzadilla reported that 70% of the CNE’s centres were not yet operational. He said that every CNE centre in Maracay was offline due to an ongoing power outage in the state, and that the few machines that were working were operating very slowly.

Calzadilla also reported that he had received information that CNE staff tasked with overseeing the process had arrived at their designated centres late, and that others simply “appeared” in centres that had not been previously announced.

He summed up the process by saying:

…. this process tells us that there is a strategy by the Nicolas Maduro government, the TSJ and the rectors at the CNE to put an end to democracy in Venezuela. This is what we are telling the country and the world.

Gov’t Announces “Express” Passport Service

The Servicio Administrativo de Identification, Migracion y Extranjeria (Identification, Migration and Foreign [Services] Administrative Services Agency) is the government agency that provides passport services to Venezuelans. The agency announced today through its website that it had created an “express” service that would allow citizens to get new passports in just 72 hours.

The express service will cost Bs. 122,400 ($29.43 at the black market exchange rate).


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