The Maduro regime staged municipal council elections today, the latest in a string of electoral processes meant to give the regime a thin veneer of democratic legitimacy. The day was marred by widespread voter abstention, as Venezuelans continue to reject the regime’s version of elections.
By around the noon hour, only 9% of registered voters had cast ballots in the election. This fact matches the situation observed in voting centres around the country, the majority of which were largely empty throughout the day. Electoral observers noted that, for example, the Colegio San Ignacio Loyola voting centres in Chacao, Caracas had only seen 400 out of 6,103 registered voters show up by noon.
The nation’s independent media outlets all have pages showing empty voting centres around the country.
Venezuelans’ relationship with elections has soured in recent years, and arguably took a turn for the worst after last year’s Constituent Assembly election. That day, the Maduro regime falsified the results of the vote by inventing, out of thin air, the number of votes cast in the process. The move marked the regime’s most brazen assault on elections in the country, and appears to have destroyed the will of Venezuelans to participate in elections.
Exiled political opposition leader Julio Borges called today’s election “a joke”, and that Venezuelans would not believe the regime lines that they had been carried out successfully. He said:
The ‘elections’ today were a joke that the country won’t believe. That’s why the [voting] centres are empty. They won’t be able to fool Venezuelans or the world. Nicolas Maduro is a dictator.
La Patilla has more pictures of empty voting centres here.
Electoral Observers: 66% of Voting Centers Suffer “Interference from Strangers”
The Red de Observacion Electoral [Election Observers Network] (ROE) denounced that 66% of the country’s voting centres suffered “interference from strangers”, meaning that they were either staffed or otherwise intruded by individuals who were not qualified to intervene in the electoral process.
ROE also said that, among all of the voting centres that they observed, 36% of voters received assistance from “strangers” in casting their ballots.
Regime Plays Election Cool
Maduro regime officials, including the president himself, played today’s dismal electoral display calmly for the cameras, exulting both today’s proceedings and what they call Venezuelan democracy in general.
Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez said in televised comments that Venezuela’s level of electoral participation was the envy of the world. While images and videos of empty voting centres flooded social media, Rodriguez said:
There’s no country in the world that has an electoral system [and a level] of participation like Venezuela…
Rodriguez also said that he doubted the existence of a country “with an electoral system as trustworthy as Venezuela’s”, and that Venezuelans were naturally predisposed to voting. He explained:
If there’s one thing that Venezuelans love more than sancocho on Sundays it’s voting, and that’s why we’ve voted 25 times since the start of the [Bolivarian] revolution until today, and we will continue to vote, to celebrate, to be happy because our representatives are not chosen by embassies or violence, but by the votes of the people.
Maduro also spoke to the television cameras shortly after casting his vote. Like Rodriguez, Maduro fixated on the number of elections Venezuela has had over the last 20 years, a figure which ignores entirely the fact that a majority of them were not democratic. Maduro said:
This is a world record. I was looking at how many elections the United States has had in the last years, and they’ve only had ten elections.
Maduro went on to equate the number of elections Venezuela has had with civil liberties in general, as if the two were related. He said:
If this were a race of freedoms, Venezuela would have the Guinness World Record for freedom of political participation…
The president also repeated the regime mantra that Venezuela has “the best and most transparent electoral system that exists in the world”, a counterfactual assertion that is nevertheless repeated often by Maduro and other regime officials.
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