The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) opposition bloc announced today that it was giving the ruling PSUV party an ultimatum: guarantee free and fair presidential elections, or the talks between the two sides end.
The talks between the MUD and the PSUV have been happening under the auspices of the government of the Dominican Republic on the island since early December. The two sides are scheduled to meet again for a two-day summit starting tomorrow.
The MUD presented its ultimatum in a message posted on its Twitter account. In the message, the MUD said that the PSUV has behaved in a “condemnable” way by banning its participating in the upcoming election, but that it was willing to give the talks one last attempt on January 29. The MUD will present its ultimatum, at that meeting.
Below, the MUD’s ultimatum announcement:
We consider that this meeting [on January 29] represents a definitive opportunity for the Government to revise its recent decisions, and in that way avoid that the country enters unmanageable chaos. We will continue to defend the interests of all Venezuelans, just as we have up to now in the previous meeting and we ask all Venezuelans to trust in our efforts which seek to consolidate political change and return dignity to the people.
We will not falter. Change is near. We will achieve it together.
Voluntad Popular Walks Away from Talks
Voluntad Popular (VP) has become the first party in the MUD to talk away from the talks with the PSUV, announcing its intention to no longer participate earlier today. VP cited the fact that the Maduro regime “has not kept” its promises, as well as the fact that it called for a snap presidential election.
VP’s national coordinator, Juan Andres Mejia, said yesterday that the snap election meant that the opposition would not have time to hold primaries, a fact that he considers unacceptable.
VP’s pullout was made public by National Assembly Deputy Luis Florido. In his message, Florido thanked the efforts of Dominican President Danilo Medina in trying to hold the talks together. Florido also references the Supreme Court’s decision from two days ago that effectively banned the party from participating in the presidential election.
Below, Florido’s message along with my translation:
President Medina, we sincerely value all of your efforts, but if the [Venezuelan] government is not willing to move forward [and if] it’s not sending signals that it wants to give electoral guarantees [and] on the contrary calls for a snap election and stops Voluntar Popular [from running a candidate], it will not be possible to go to your country.
VP is one of the largest and most popular political parties in Venezuela. Its leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has been imprisoned since 2015.
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