The Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) has been making the results of yesterday’s municipal election public throughout the day, showing that the ruling PSUV party has won yet another overwhelming victory at the polls. At stake in yesterday’s vote were 335 municipalities, 305 of which have gone to PSUV candidates. The opposition won a mere 25 municipalities, while local, officially unaffiliated parties won 5.
Yesterday’s election was marked by a high abstention rate and an overall lack of enthusiasm from Venezuelans, following a string of highly publicized allegations of electoral fraud at the regime-controlled CNE.
Earlier today, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), the country’s battered political opposition bloc, issued a formal reaction to yesterday’s vote, calling them fraudulent. In the press release, the MUD chastises the PSUV for celebrating fraudulent electoral victories “on the ruins” of the country, and points to the high abstention rate as evidence that the party does not count on popular support.
Below, my translation of the MUD press release on the municipal elections:
Those who win at the cost of causing hunger in Venezuela through a fraudulent electoral system should not claim victory.
[Electoral] irregularities and low turnouts have tainted the December 10 vote.
Credible elections are characterized by inclusion, transparency and an equal playing field. None of these attributes were present in Venezuela today.
Once again, we experienced the entire state apparatus abusing its power, including the malevolent use of the “carnet de la patria” [PSUV I.D.] in order to overwhelm the will of a people who are experiencing a time of need.
It is clear that there were no elections today according to what is established in the Constitution. An immense majority of Venezuelan electors expressed that they reject this regime; some did so by not going to vote in what they consider to be a mine field, and others by defending their right to vote by casting it in favour of the parties that decided to participate despite the barriers mounted by the government.
Both of these options deserve our respect for being legitimate, and we must now work to regroup and unify our demands in order to create as much national and international pressure as possible to rescue our right to vote, along with guarantees that will allow us to achieve the change that our people call for. Many of those who voted yesterday did so due to tremendous pressure from the government. We also speak to those people today: we understand the desperate situation in which you find yourselves, and we extend to you our hand in the hope that we can liberate you from blackmail and oppression
.While those atop the political pyramid accuse each other of scandalous corruption, while those same corrupt officials celebrate and congratulate each other for having stolen municipalities today through fraud and blackmail, the grand majority of Venezuelans suffer from a lack of food and medicine, and the number of deaths from lack of medical attention and malnutrition continues to grow. Hospitals and schools are crumbling.
The humanitarian crisis is real. The collapse of democracy is real. The corruption emanating from Miraflores [Presidential Palace] is evident.
There is no doubt that Nicolas Maduro does not count on the support of the grand majority of the country, and never will. Venezuela wants change, and those who celebrate on her ruins today know that the people are hungry for food, medicine, and liberty.
The Venezuela of the future, of progress, is willing to stand firm so that we may have real elections, fair and transparent, where the vast majority that rejected the regime today can open the doors to change.
Maria Corina Machado: Yesterday Was Not A Defeat, But An “Rebellion”
Vente Venezuela‘s (VV) Maria Corina Machado spoke today last night on the municipal vote, arguing that the event could not be called an election given the low participation which she attributes to the Venezuelan voters’ discontent with the Maduro regime.
Machado suggested that rather than seeing yesterday’s vote as a defeat for the opposition, the fact that most Venezuelans did not vote should be seen as an act of “rebellion”. Machado said:
What happened yesterday does not mean that Venezuelans are apathetic. On the contrary, what happened yesterday in Venezuela was a very conscientious act conducted by every citizen.
Machado pulled her VV party out of the municipal elections in August following the October 15 gubernatorial vote, citing overwhelming evidence that the CNE had committed fraud to ensure PSUV victories across the country. Among all of Venezuela’s opposition leaders, Machado is arguably the harshest and most outspoken critic of the Maduro regime.
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