Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) will provide technical assistance to the opposition’s National Primary Commission (CNP) to carry out the primary elections, scheduled to be held in October.
This was announced by CNE President Elvis Amoroso on Friday, September 22. Amoroso explained that this decision was taken unanimously by the CNE board of directors after receiving a letter from CNP head Jesús María Casal, dated June 5, requesting CNE’s technical assistance for the primaries.
🗳️ El CNE aprobó la asistencia técnica para la organización de las primarias de la Plataforma Unitaria.
🗣️ Elvis Amoroso: en virtud de la solicitud de Jesús María Casal celebramos sesión y los rectores del CNE lo aprobaron de forma unánime.
— 𝙋𝙤𝙡𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙖 (@polianalitica) September 22, 2023
However, on June 16, the CNP announced its decision to organize the primaries by itself without CNE support due to pressure from the most far-right sectors of the Venezuelan opposition. Recent incidents related to significant failures in the organization of some opposition elections without CNE support have jeopardized the feasibility of the electoral process scheduled for October 22.
According to analysts, those failures are related to the opacity of the financial sources used for the electoral process, the resignations of state CNP coordinators due to disagreements over the organization of the process, the use of the CNE’s Electoral Registry voters data without consent, which led to a citizens’ legal action before the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, and the withdrawal of voting centers (in reality private premises chosen by the CNP) due to the change of mind of the owners of the premises or due to claims of selection of venues without consent of the owners.
“The National Electoral Council, obliged to give administrative response to the requests submitted to it, by unanimity of all the rectors, resolved to provide comprehensive constitutional and legal technical assistance to the request made by the Unitary Platform’s organization,” CNE President Amoroso said.
He also pointed out that, after this decision has been made, Casal will be summoned to a technical meeting with the CNE rectors. He also explained that this decision of the CNE is in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Organic Law of Electoral Processes.
COMUNICADO CNPrimaria sobre declaraciones del presidente del CNE pic.twitter.com/8nfWQvc2Hr
— Comisión Nacional de Primaria VE (@cnprimariave) September 22, 2023
Initially it was not clear if the decision was taken in consultation with the CNP, despite the presence of two rectors from the opposition at the CNE board.
Following Amoroso’s statements, the National Primary Commission announced in a press release that it would meet with the aspirants and the organizations supporting the process. The statement does not make it clear if the CNP’s meeting would be in response to the CNE announcement, but it does refer to the June 5 letter as well as another letter dated June 2, also related to possible CNE support for the opposition primaries.
Opposition pre-candidates such as María Corina Machado and Andrés Velásquez are against CNE assistance in the opposition primaries, expressing their rejection of Venezuelan State institutions. This is a contradictory position, given the fact that the 2024 presidential elections will be carried out by the same CNE.
Three out of 13 pre-candidates in the opposition primaries: María Corina Machado, Henrique Capriles, and Freddy Superlano were disqualified to run for public office several years ago. Despite their disqualification they have kept pushing their candidacy, adding an additional level of uncertainty to the opposition’s electoral process.
If the CNE technical assistance is accepted by the opposition, it is not clear whether the disqualified candidates could register to participate in the primaries. The nomination system of the National Electoral Council prevents persons sanctioned by the Comptroller General’s Office from registering to run for elected office.
It is not clear if the CNE law applies to an internal electoral process. Objectively, if the opposition primary winner is one of the disqualified candidates, then Venezuelan electoral law will forbid that person from running in the 2024 presidential race.
Special for Orinoco Tribune by staff
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