The four governors elected from the Accion Democratica (AD) party in the October 15 gubernatorial election have announced that they will be sworn in by Maduro’s Constituent Assembly, a move that might prove fatal for an weakened Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition bloc.
The news was announced through the official twitter account of the Constituent Assembly in the following message:
#NOW governors from Accion Democratica are in the Yellow House [a government building in Caracas that serves as the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] to be sworn in by the National Constituent Assembly.
In the image below, the four AD governors (right) are shown being sworn in by Delcy Rodriguez (on the left, wearing black). The tweet reads “#NOW Governors elected from Accion Democratica have been sworn in and have become subordinates of the National Constituent Assembly”:
National Assembly vice president and coordinator for the Voluntad Popular (VP) opposition party Freddy Guevara reacted to the news out of AD by saying that the four governors had decided to be sworn in on their own, independent from MUD wishes. In a tweet, Guevara said:
The [MUD’s] position [on the swearing in by the Constituent Assembly] was decided and expressed a long time ago: [the decision was to] NOT be sworn in by the National Constituent Assembly. The governors who were sworn in today have gone their own way.
The news comes after a week of intense debate inside the MUD about whether or not proceed with the swearing-in ceremony. The question bitterly divided the opposition, with one side arguing that participating in the ceremony would lend legitimacy to an ultimately illegitimate body, and the other arguing the act would be mostly symbolic and it would allow the opposition governors to get to work.
Maria Corina Machado, the head of the Vente Venezuela (VV) opposition party, did not mince words with her take on the news, saying:
How shameful. This is nauseating. I assure the country that what we are going to build together will be different from this. It will have decency.
Late last week, Maduro threatened that any governor who refused to be sworn in by the Constituent Assembly would not be allowed to take office, and that new elections would be held until someone willing to take part in the ceremony was found.
The Constituent Assembly was elected on July 30 in an election that is universally recognized as having been fraudulent, even by the company that provided the voting machines for the event. Because it rules with no oversight as a pseudo-legislature, the Constituent Assembly is understood by regime critics to be nothing more but an attempt by the Maduro regime to maintain control of the country in light of the loss of the National Assembly in the 2015 elections.
Guanipa Remains Defiant As Opposition Buckles
The opposition won 5 states on October 15. The one opposition governor-elect who refused to be sworn in by the Constituent Assembly is Zulia’s Juan Pablo Guanipa, who remained steadfast in his rejection of the organization in a press conference today. During the press conference, Guanipa said:
I am letting the people of Venezuela know for the sake of coherence and dignity, and for my love for Zulia state and Venezuela: I will not be sworn in by the National Constituent Assembly.
When pressed for comment on his AD counterparts, Guanipa refused to give his opinion.
Velasquez Presents Evidence of Fraud at CNE HQ
Angel Velasquez, the opposition gubernatorial candidate in Bolivar state, filed a formal complaint at the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) headquarters in Caracas today regarding the allegations of voter fraud in October 15 regional elections. Velasquez presented evidence of the fraud in the form of official audit forms provided by the CNE itself in Bolivar showing discrepancies between the total number of votes cast for his opponent and the election results announced by the CNE.
According to the CNE, Velasquez lost Bolivar state to his PSUV opponent, Justo Noruega, by 1,471 votes. However, official audit forms provided by the CNE show that Noruega somehow won 2,066 votes in the hours between the closing of voting centres and the time that the CNE announced the election results. Velasquez claims that the discrepancy is evidence that the CNE simply gave Noruega votes in order to ensure his victory.
Velasquez was met at the CNE by rector Luis Emilio Rondon, who is widely understood to be the only pro-opposition individual in a leadership position inside the organization.
According to electoral law, the CNE now has 15 days to respond to Velasquez’s allegations of fraud.
Borges: At least 1.6 million Votes are Suspect
National Assembly President Julio Borges announced today that an internal audit from the MUD has found that at least 1.6 million votes cast in the October 15 elections are suspect because they do not have matching fingerprints.
According to Venezuelan voting procedures, an elector must scan their fingerprint at their voting machine at the time that they cast their ballot. This is done to verify that a unique individual has voted. In theory, this would prevent the same person from voting multiple times.
Borges called on the Maduro regime to take the allegations seriously, and assured reporters that an audit would determine the cause and consequence of the vote/fingerprint discrepancy.
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