Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—This Monday, the far-right opposition National Primary Commission (CNP) responded to the proposal made by the National Electoral Council (CNE) regarding technical assistance for the upcoming opposition primary elections. In a statement, the CNP refused to modify the date of the opposition primary elections after confirming that their internal elections will be held as scheduled on October 22.
Although it recognized the CNE’s technical assistance proposal and the suggestion to carry it out on November 19, the CNP clarified that it is already in the final stage of the process, given that the ballots and other electoral materials are already in the printing process.
Comisión Nacional de Primaria respondió al CNE:
“La situación actual de la Primaria es muy distinta a la que teníamos el 5 de junio” pic.twitter.com/IoVuI6TxlK
— Comisión Nacional de Primaria VE (@cnprimariave) October 2, 2023
According to the statement, the National Primary Commission has almost finalized all stages in the electoral schedule. It pointed out that the current situation of the primaries is very different from what they had last June when it initially requested technical help from the CNE.
Last June 16, the CNP announced that it would organize the opposition primaries without CNE support just hours after announcing the contrary. The opposition organization argued then that the decision was taken after the resignation of the CNE’s board. However, the outgoing CNE authorities explained that all ongoing processes in the CNE would not be affected. Many analysts explained the CNP’s decision to reject any dealings with the CNE as that of far-right pre-candidate María Corina Machado.
Given this situation, the National Primary Commission statement requested the CNE to support the primaries on the following isolated issues:
• To provide educational institutions as voting centers, complementing or replacing some of those already identified. They propose two additional voting centers per municipality, thus needing some 300 or 400 voting centers.
• To serve as an intermediary with the Ministry for Defense, Ministry for Interior Relations, Justice and Peace, and other bodies with jurisdiction over security and public order on October 22 to safeguard security during the electoral process.
• To help transfer electoral material through safe conduct or other similar protocols.
• To facilitate contacts with the Ministry of Communication and Information and the Foreign Ministry to advance the procedures required for international reporters to enter the country.
• To facilitate the entry of some electoral experts into the country who will be invited by the CNP.
“If the CNE accepts these requests, it would be collaborating with the Primary [Elections] as a citizen and democratic initiative. At this point in the process, it can benefit its development and completion,” concluded the CNP statement.
On Monday night, the CNE issued a statement confirming its willingness to support the opposition primaries, clarifying that it should be within the parameters set on Thursday, September 28. Thus, the Venezuelan electoral authority dismissed the CNP proposal made public earlier.
Comunicado a la opinión pública pic.twitter.com/SctOXvCGdc
— cneesvenezuela (@cneesvzla) October 2, 2023
The unofficial translation of the CNE statement can be read below:
The Electoral Power, in accordance with the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Organic Law of the Electoral Power, and other applicable legal provisions, has the exclusive competence to organize elections, provide technical and logistical support to professional guilds, unions, organizations with political purposes, and to the communal councils, communes, and other social organizations that request it. The National Electoral Council is ready to carry out any national, state, municipal, primary, or union elections as long as the constitutional, legal, and technical requirements are met, thus guaranteeing the right to choose.
In this sense, the National Electoral Council confirms its willingness to provide automated technical support to the National Primary Commission, as proposed on September 28 by our institution in response to the request of citizen Jesús María Casal. This is to guarantee a reliable, transparent process that stimulates the participation of all voters under a climate of absolute security.
The National Electoral Council is prepared to guarantee the primaries and any other election, and we reaffirm our commitment to the Venezuelan people in strengthening democracy.
We Venezuelans should be proud of having the best automated system in the world.
On Monday afternoon, during the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) weekly press conference, PSUV Vice President Diosdado Cabello said that the far-right opposition is asking the CNE for things beyond which it has authority. Given that it is not the Electoral Power that decides who enters the country but the Venezuelan State. The issue is that they “do not recognize the State,” added Cabello.
He clarified that the CNP cannot ask the CNE for schools to serve as voting centers either, as they are educational centers and the responsibility of the Ministry for Education. “They have to talk to the government. Anything else is arrogance, which is of no use at this moment,” said Cabello.
The PSUV leader added to his statements, saying that anyone who believes the primaries are a process controlled by opposition parties is wrong, as they are supervised by the United States. Therefore, the decision on assistance does not depend on the CNE but on the US government — the one signing the checks.
“In truth, nothing will happen [on October 22]. That is all inconsequential. In the end, the primary is an event between them,” said Cabello. Adding that one of the things that will happen that day is that they will burn papers and results, as they have always done.
Special for Orinoco Tribune by staff
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