Last week we looked at the highly dubious (to say the least) regional elections which just took place in Venezuela. Regional governors and municipal leaders were selected in the 21 Venezuelan states and, almost miraculously, the ruling socialist party of Nicolas Maduro managed to win in 18 of them, despite the armies of starving people protesting his regime every day.
But then there were those annoying 5 regions where the opposition party somehow managed to win. What to do about that? Never fear, citizens. You’re going to get as much democracy as it takes until Maduro has things the way he wants them. If the governors don’t abide by a new rule being imposed by Maduro’s regime, he’ll just schedule new elections which I’m sure will be much, much more fair and open. (Reuters)
Venezuelan state elections may be repeated in the five states won by the opposition if the governors-elect continue to refuse to be sworn in by a controversial pro-government legislative superbody, President Nicolas Maduro warned on Friday.
Authorities have mandated that all elected governors participate in a ceremony before the pro-government Constituent Assembly, but the five opposition winners did not take part. “Anyone who wants to be governor will have to recognize the Constituent National Assembly; otherwise elections will be repeated in states where the Assembly is not recognized,” Maduro said at the inauguration of one of the socialist candidates in western Lara state.
The opposition says that by law, the oath must be taken before regional parliaments and not before the Constituent Assembly, but so far none of their candidates have undergone that process and formally assumed their roles.
As you may recall, the “legislative superbody” in question is the new Constituent Assembly which was summoned up out of thin air this year and effectively replaced the elected legislature where the opposition party holds a majority. The Assembly was put in place during an election where only pro-Maduro candidates from his socialist party were allowed on the ballot and supporters of the opposition widely boycotted the vote because the new assembly was considered unconstitutional. (There’s not much to worry about on that score because the Assembly will be rewriting the constitution to suit Maduro’s needs over the coming months.)
So now, in a move very reminiscent of Daenerys Targaryen’s endless demands that Jon Snow “bend the knee,” Maduro wants all the governors to come take their oath in front of the Constituent Assembly and pledge their support. Of course, since most of them ran on a platform opposing the power grab, that seems unlikely. Also, they have existing law on their side in their respective states because the oath is supposed to be taken in front of their own, regional legislature.
But since when would Nicolas Maduro let a little thing like existing law slow his roll? The new governors in the five states where Maduro’s party lost are pretty well caught in a trap. Taking the oath in the fashion demanded by Maduro essentially betrays the premise of their campaigns. But failing to do so gives Madro the excuse he wants to run the elections again. And this time there will only be a handful of states for the ruling government to concentrate on and “regulate” things on election day.
If Maduro pulls this off he’ll probably have a clean sweep of all the elected offices in the country. The odds would appear to be on his side because the man really doesn’t like to lose. And if you’re found to be standing in his way or disrupting his plans you have a tendency to disappear.