The Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Supreme Court of Justice, TSJ) announced this evening that it had appointed a new set of rectors to head the Consejo Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Council, CNE). The move appeared to be imminent after the TSJ ruled last Friday that the opposition-controlled National Assembly could not appoint the rectors as it had hoped to do.
Because the TSJ is firmly under the control of the ruling PSUV party, the change at the helm of the CNE is unlikely to jeopardize the party’s grip on the CNE, and by connection, the result of future elections in the country.
The new CNE leadership is as follows:
- President: Indira Maira Alfonzo Izaguirre
- Vice President: Rafael Simon Jimenez Melean
- Rector: Tania D’Amelio
- Rector: Gladys Maria Gutierrez Alvarado
- Rector: Jose Luis Gutierrez Parra
Izaguirre, Melean and D’Amelio are PSUV loyalists, and have each been sanctioned by the governments of Canada and the United States, respectively, for their role in the systemic violation of human rights in Venezuela. Jimenez and Gutierrez have a claim of distance from the Maduro government, although their willingness to take the positions at the order of the TSJ is likely to call into question their willingness to act in a non-partisan manner.
Prior to last week’s ruling from the TSJ, the opposition had made appointing a new, impartial CNE leadership one of its priorities as the move was seen as necessary to help ensure free and fair elections in Venezuela.
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