Late yesterday evening, Maduro announced on a television broadcast that the winners of Sunday’s gubernatorial election would not be allowed to take office unless their swearing-in ceremonies are presided by the National Constituent Assembly and they place themselves in subordination to the body. The announcement drew the ire of opposition leaders and supporters, who view the Constituent Assembly as a fraudulent body whose sole purpose it is to lend a thin layer of democratic legitimacy to Maduro’s authoritarian regime.
Maduro made the announcement during a telephone call that aired live on Con El Mazo Dando, a weekly television show hosted by PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello.
When making the announcement made clear that the decision was not his: rather, it had been made by the Constituent Assembly itself. Maduro explained:
The National Constituent Assembly decided that the governors that are elected by the people on Sunday will have to subordinate themselves to this plenipotentiary body. That’s what the National Constituent Assembly decided, and they are the ones who called for this election.
The Constituent Assembly did not in fact call for Sunday’s gubernatorial election. The election is taking place–a year late–due to term limits set out in the national constitution.
Elected on July 30 after months of deadly protests, the Constituent Assembly vote is widely recognized as having been fraudulent. SmartMatic, the company that provided the voting machines for the election, released an unprecedented statement following the election claiming “without any doubt” that the election results were fraudulent.
Maduro announced his desire to create a Constituent Assembly in early May of this year. Regime critics immediately pointed out at that the point of the Constituent Assembly from Maduro’s perspective was to control a body that, according to the national constitution, supersedes the authority of the National Assembly, which has been under opposition control since 2015.
MUD: We’re Ignoring Maduro
Venezuela’s political opposition bloc, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), reacted to Maduro’s announcement regarding the swearing in of election winners before the Constituent Assembly by saying that none of its politicians would do that. The announcement came from Gerardo Blyde, who is the head of the MUD’s electoral campaign.
Speaking during a press conference earlier today, Blyde said:
None of our governors is going to swear in before the constitutional fraud that we call the National Constituent Assembly.
Blyde also entertained the possibility that in reaction to the MUD’s stance, the Maduro regime may consider appointing its own governors to replace opposition winners who refuse to recognize the Constituent Assembly. On that matter, Blyde said:
We know that the regime, in an abuse of its authority and power, could establish parallel governorships at any moment. But that will not nullify the legitimacy of the election.
At the same time, Blyde pointed out that Maduro’s threat may not necessarily be a cause for concern, given the fact that opposition mayors and National Assembly deputies have not yet recognized the authority of the Constituent Assembly.
Cabello: Opposition Will Ignore Election
Speaking at a campaign rally in Bolivar state earlier today, PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello told a crowd of supporters that the opposition would ignore the results of Sunday’s election by claiming that fraud had been committed. Cabello also suggested that he believes that the PSUV will win every single governorship, 23 in total.
Citing unknown polling figures, Cabello said:
It is likely–according to their own polls–that the revolution will win the 23 governorships. What do you think that the traitors will do? Fraud, and they will say, ‘tomorrow I will present evidence for the fraud’, and ten years will pass and they won’t show the evidence.
They will not recognize the results.
Soldiers Remove Electoral Material From Caracas Voting Centre
Soldiers with the Plan Republica (a security operation headed by the military tasked with overseeing Sunday’s election) broke into a voting centre in the La California Sur neighbourhood of Caracas and removed all the electoral material from the premises. The voting centre was left completely bare, making it unable to receive voters on Sunday.
Witnesses claim that the soldiers carried the material onto a truck. It is not clear why the soldiers emptied the voting centre, or if the voting centre will be re-stocked with material prior to Sunday.
The Maduro regime has grown increasingly brazen in its interference with voting centres. Just yesterday, the regime announced that the location of 119 voting centres had been changed. The move affects 715,502 voters. The MUD claims that the sudden move is meant to cause confusion and discourage people from taking part in the election.
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