The National Assembly declared itself in permanent session this afternoon, with the goal of picking the members of a new Consejo Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Council, CNE).

The move is set to divide the legislature along party lines, with the PSUV bloc attempting to stonewall and disqualify the selection. Jesus Montilla, a PSUV deputy from Falcon state, said that the session to appoint the new membership of the CNE “will amount to nothing”.

The current CNE is made up by regime loyalists, including its head, Tibisay Lucena. As a result, the Maduro regime has complete control over electoral processes in the country, and so changing the CNE leadership would threaten its stranglehold on power.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido spoke at today’s legislative session, and addressed the deputies from the ruling PSUV party and its bloc. Guaido said:

Since we [the opposition] are ready, we’re declaring that the permanent session will start tomorrow at 10:00 AM, so that you [the PSUV bloc] can get ready.

The opposition-controlled National Assembly was devoid of PSUV-bloc deputies since 2017, after the regime decided to retire from the legislature. The ruling party bloc formally re-joined the legislature on September 24 of this year.

State Imports Rice Despite “Economic War”

According to official figures from the Banco Central de Venezuela (Venezuelan Central Bank, BCV), non-oil state imports rose 16.5% in the first trimester of 2019 compared to last year, reaching $955 million. These imports include food and other goods purchased abroad by the Maduro regime.

The increase stands in start contrast to the regime’s incessant talk of an “economic war” that its officials claim is being waged against the country, which include U.S. sanctions against certain aspects of the Venezuelan economy.

Just last week, Maduro declared victory in the “economic war” at an event in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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