Contributed by Joe Montero
On Sunday 6 December local time, Venezuelans went to the polls to elect their representatives to their parliament. It’s called the National Assembly. Out of a population of just over 30 million, more than 20 million of them had the right to vote. No one was excluded.
Residents line up to vote at Caracas polling station
Video from Ruptly
More than 14,000 candidates stood for 277 seats. They represented 107 political organisations. Three seats are reserved for indigenous communities.
The United States and European Union had both been asked to send own official observers. They refused to do so, preferring to recycle the claims made by last year’s self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido. The election was branded as a fraud from the day it was announced.
In contrast, a team of 1.500 international observers, and 300 official representatives from 34 countries, observed polling stations, talked to people, and audited the count. This included observers form the United States and the European Union.
The election result is officially announced
Video from Ruptly
The foreign observers reported that the election process was fair, proper, transparent, and that the result reflected the wishes of the voters.
Spain’s former President Jose Rodriguez Zapatero, who himself took part as an observer, supported the findings, and called on the international community not to follow the U.S. nefarious policy against the Latin American country.
Former Spanish President Jose Rodriguez Zapatero
Much of the global big media has been near silent on both the election and its result. There has been an effective censorship. So much for the defence of democracy and free speech. The little reporting that there been, is almost entirely recycled from the Guaido script and does not come from observation on the ground.
Guaido had good reason to boycott. No one seriously expected him to be re-elected. He had first become a member of the Assembly on the back of a mere 20 percent of his local vote. It was the proportional party vote and the cross party alliance at the time, which just got him over the line. Guaido’s star is falling, and this was not going to be repeated.
The pro-government Great Patriotic Pole won 69 percent of the vote. Its members are the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Fatherland for All (PPT), the Peoples Electoral Movement (MEP), the Venezuelan Peoples Union (UPV), the Revolutionary Movement Tupamaro (MRT), the left evangelical and Pentecostal Authentic Renewal Organisation (ORA), Venezuelan Popular Unity (UPV), We Can (Podemos), We are Venezuela (SV), and the Venezuelan Revolutionary Current (CRV).
Pro government election rally
Video from Ruptly
The Great Patriotic Pole won 177 of the 277 seats
Most world leaders have recognised the result.
“We have recovered the national assembly with majority of votes from the Venezuelan people, It’s a great victory without a doubt for democracy”, Maduro said in a televised address.
Most of the opposition took part in this election through one of two blocks. By far the biggest is the conservative and right-wing Democratic Alliance. Its two dominant parties are the traditional conservative social democratic Democratic Action and Christian democratic Copei (AC). Smaller parties include, Progressive Advance (AP), Expectations for Change (EC), and We Will Bring About Change (Cambiamos). They got about 18 percent and 89 seats.
The Democratic Alliance has formally accepted the election result.
A new small left opposition. The Communist party of Venezuela (PCV) joined with factions of the PPT and MRT to form the Popular Revolutionary Alternative. The block also included some splinter groups with Trotskyist, far left, and anarchist traditions. They got 2.7 percent of the vote. The Communist Part of Venezuela got 1 seat.
This result shows that the Popular Revolutionary Alternative failed in its ambition to win over a substantial portion the Great Patriotic Pole supporters and are marginalised in Venezuelan politics.
Although the result was clear, the turnout at 31 percent was not high, low turnouts are traditional in Venezuela. This time there were the additional factors of the Coronavirus-19 pandemic and lockdowns, the impact of sanctions, and concerns over the possibility of a United States military invasion, to add elements of fear. Even so, the turnout of voters was in line with tradition.
The suggestion that all those who didn’t vote are supporters of Guaido is ridiculous. it is being said. This is the straw that he and his people are clinging to.
It was quickly seized on by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who claimed on social media, that this is evidence of the fraud and illegitimacy of the election.
Whatever the United States and some European nations say, it remains that Juan Guaido is now in a much weaker position, stripped of the last pretence and legitimacy.
He says he is carrying out his own referendum. This is impossible without the necessary infrastructure inside the country. Guaido’s team doesn’t have this.
has now been deprived of his last platform to pretend legitimacy inside Venezuela. This is going to make it more difficult for his shrinking band of international supporters.
For Nicolas Maduro and his government, the election result brings a new opportunity to press forward with the mandate it has been given. Only time will tell where this goes.