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Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles announced earlier today that the Primero Justicia (PJ) party was well on its way to collecting the signatures that the party needs in order to retain its status as an official political organization in the country. Shortly before the noon hour, Capriles said that about 150,000 people had signed for the party yesterday and today, and that PJ only needed 20,000 more signatures to meet the requirements set by the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE).

Earlier in the day, PJ official Juan Carlos Caldera told El Nacional that the CNE had not allotted any extra machines for the process today as requested by the party, given the overwhelming number of Venezuelans who turned out to sign for the party yesterday.

Caldera also said that officials in Nueva Esparta state were likely attempting to slow down the signature-collection process:

The national average time to sign yesterday was about two minutes. The average time to sign in Nueva Esparta is nearly ten minutes per person. There’s no explanation for that except [to say that its] sabotage.

TSJ Head: Supreme Court is Impartial

Maikel Moreno, the new chief magistrate at the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), Venezuela’s top court, gave an interview today to Jose Vicente Rangel on his Jose Vicente Hoy television show. During the interview, Moreno argued that the TSJ is an independent body that works to uphold the constitution and the rule of law in Venezuela.

When asked, “Has the TSJ been kidnapped by the executive branch as some have argued?”, Moreno said:

Absolutely not. You know that we are independent. The only thing that leads us to our decisions is our conscience, the constitution, the law, and national peace.

The TSJ is widely recognized as being an extension of Maduro office as it routinely rubber-stamps unconstitutional measures, such as the democratic emergency decree and Maduro’s refusal to present his yearly address before the National Assembly earlier this year.

Moreno backed up the Court’s record by saying:

With the decisions that are coming out of the TSJ, we are giving the country, giving Venezuelans a state based on the rule of law, social and just, along with stability. We are definitely respecting the constitution and our laws with the TSJ’s acts and those of the courts.

Moreno became the chief magistrate of the TSJ on February 24 of this year. His election to the post was a controversial due in part to the fact that he was twice convicted of homicide: once in 1987, and once in 1989.


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