The Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), the government body in charge of organizing and carrying out elections in the country, announced today that Venezuelans will go to the polls on December 10 to vote for their regional leaders. That day, voters will elect their mayors, state legislators and governors.
According to constitutional term limits, the elections should have taken place last year. However, the CNE postponed the elections in October of last year without explanation. At the time, CNE chief Tibisay Lucena promised Venezuelans that the elections would take place before the middle of 2017.
Regime critics at the time decried the postponement of the elections as a naked attempt by the PSUV to ensure that its mayors and governors remained in power longer than allowed by law, given the party’s overwhelming unpopularity.
Miranda state governor and leading opposition figure Henrique Capriles reacted to the news of the regional elections today by calling them “a show”, and suggested that the regime would find a way to cancel them before December. Capriles said:
The elections that Mrs. Lucena has announced are a show. The government doesn’t want to hold democratic elections, and that’s why they’re holding the Constituent [Assembly].
The Constituent Assembly will convene in August, and will hold the responsibility of drafting a new national constitution. With his comment, Capriles is suggesting that the regime will use the creation of the new constitution as an excuse to not hold the elections this year.
All of this has an objective, which is to try to wash the face of the government, because in the end they’re going to commit fraud through the Constituent [Assembly]. That’s why they’ve called for that process.
The drafting of a new constitution could give the Maduro regime a virtually unlimited number of excuses to cancel the regional elections. For example, if the new constitution contains term limits for elected officials of X number of years, the regime could simply argue that the count starts in 2017 as year 0, effectively extending the terms of all sitting regional officials to the limit set in the new constitution.
Four Killed During Unrest Over Last 24 Hours
Four people have been killed during the unrest in the country over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of dead since the protests began on April 1 to 73.
Yesterday afternoon, a 20 year old student named Luis Enrique Vera Sulbaran was killed while protesting on the campus of the Universidad Rafael Belloso Chacin (URBE) in the city of Maracaibo, Zulia state.
El Nacional reports that Sulbaran was standing near a barricade that was blocking a road when a vehicle approached. The driver of the vehicle panicked at the sight of the barricade, and decided to attempt to speed through the area, inadvertently hitting and killing Sulbaran in the process.
Protesters reacted to the killing by burning the SUV that struck Sulbaran, which you can see below:
Yesterday evening, Minister of the Interior Nestor Reverol announced that two people died during a protest in Caracas yesterday in an automotive collision involving a barricade. According to Reverol, the men lost control of the motorcycle when they attempted to evade a barricade in the Prados del Este highway.
The two fatalities were 27-year-old Luis Machado and 50-year-old Jose Lorenzo. A 22-year-old woman was also injured in the same event.
This afternoon, a 19 year old student named Jose Gregorio Perez Perez was shot in the head and killed during a protest in the Junin municipality of Tachira state. Early reports suggests that two men on a motorcycle approached a group of anti-regime protesters that included Perez and opened fire, mortally wounding him.
Below, an image of the protest in the Rubio sector of Tachira earlier today (Junin is located in Rubio):
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