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Shake-up of Venezuela’s Electoral Council Ahead of 2024 Vote

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — A majority of the electoral council stepped down in Venezuela on Thursday, giving the disputed Parliament a free hand to install new members and mould the council further before presidential elections next year.

National Assembly President Jorge Rodriguez said lawmakers under him would install a new leadership of the National Electoral Council (CNE) “as a matter of urgency”.

The outgoing CNE board was named in 2021 after a political negotiation that was welcomed by the international community.

Its members were tapped following claims of irregularities in the 2018 re-election of socialist President Nicolas Maduro and the triumph of his supporters in legislative elections in 2020. Both votes were boycotted by the largest Opposition parties.

CNE President Pedro Calzadilla and rector Alexis Corredor, along with six other members allied with the Government, said Thursday they would let the National Assembly pick their replacements.

Another pro-Government member, Tania D’Amelio, had already resigned in April to take a seat on the Supreme Court.

Only two CNE members, Roberto Picon and Enrique Marquez, are aligned with the Opposition, and they did not tender resignations.

The outgoing CNE organised November 2021 regional elections, which European Union observers — monitoring polls there for the first time in 15 years — reported had irregularities despite finding “better conditions”.

After years of complaints against the CNE for favouring the Government, the Opposition requested technical assistance from the council to organise primary elections on October 22 so as to settle on a rival to Maduro for 2024.

Political scientist Ana Milagros Parra said the decision to change the electoral authorities seeks to “delay the process of the primaries and further divide public opinion”.

“It is part of the idea of demoralising the people; promoting a scenario of abstention, of disillusionment with the idea of voting; a little to work on the perception that it is not worth voting because the Government practically does whatever it wants,” Pablo Andres Quintero, a political analyst, told AFP.

Source : Jamaica Observer