Manipulation of Venezuelan constituent results?

President Maduro continues with the National Constituent Assembly process despite accusations of fraud and international rejection

Manipulation of Venezuelan constituent
The elections for the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) were held in Venezuela with the participation of about 8 million Venezuelan citizens. Members of the current government, like Cilia Flores, Delcy Rodríguez, Aristóbulo Istúriz and Diosdado Cabello, also partook in the event. This gives insight on the power that the pro-government political forces will wave in the NCA decisions. Some of the sectors with more candidates elected included the public administration, students, social workers, commercial and banking sector, and representatives of fisherman.

Other 364 candidates were elected across territories as well, according to the National Electoral Council.

However, the data presented above has been criticized and contradicted because the company in charge of the ballot counting, Smartmatic, made a declaration indicating that the results were manipulated by President Nicolas Maduro’s administration. The results presented by the government do not match the results of the electronic system.

“Thanks to the existence of this robust, automated voting system we can know, without a doubt, that in the last elections of the National Constituent Assembly there was manipulation”, explained Antonio Mugica, president of Smartmatic Company. “An audit would make it possible to know the exact amount. We estimate that the difference between the number advertised and the amount that the system yields is at least one million voters”, he continued. Confronted with the affirmations, the National Electoral Council warned about taking legal actions against the company for false accusations.

For now, what is clear is that the NCA is an exceptional power above all other institutions and will have the legal authority to reform the Venezuelan constitution allowing the “chavismo” to remain in power indefinitely. President Nicolas Maduro also seeks to change the economic system of the country to consolidate a communal State, as well as to receive authorization to have power over prices. Likewise, the objectives of the NCA are to grant greater power to the communal councils (a self-management territorial figure parallel to Mayors and Governors) and to restructure the district attorney’s office.

At the same time, the National Constituent Assembly has planned to remove the legitimate authority from the actual Assembly that was elected in 2015; the majority is from the opposition. The opposition deputies rejected the elections and will not recognized the results; they assure that they will not cede power without a fight. “Obviously, Parliament is not just the palace and they have the weapons to take it if they feel like it, but what they can never do is take it without us resisting and without the conviction that the people support us and that we are obligated to enforce that mandate”, stated the vice-president of the National Assembly, Freddy Guevara.

The electoral session was held between riots which left at least 10 people dead despite the prohibition of protest. Also, on Tuesday, August 1st, during the early morning the Venezuelan National Guard arrested opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Leopoldo Lopez under supposed suspicions of escape, and their statements against the constituent.

The US Department of Treasury made a communication where President Maduro is called a dictator and imposed economic sanctions like the freezing of any assets that President Maduro holds in that country. Other countries like Colombia, Peru, Panama, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, and Argentina did not recognized the results of the election. The disagreement was also showed by international organizations like OEA and the European Parliament. The above statements could have a stronger impact in the economic situation of Venezuela rather than in the national politics.

Latin American Post | Diana Cárdenas

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto 

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