Venezuela: Socialist Party challenges election results

Members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which lost legislative seats in elections earlier this month, filed challenges on Dec. 29 disputing the victory of eight opposition candidates. The opposition, Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), won 99 legislative seats on Dec. 6, giving the party legislative power for the first time in 16 years. The win for the opposition party will give them a super majority in the legislature, allowing them to challenge President Nicolas Maduro. If one challenge is upheld, however, the opposition party will lose its status as a super-majority and the powers that come along with it. Critics of the challenges, such as Jesús Torrealba, secretary-general of the opposition party, describe them as a "legal tricks to steal something the voters didn't want to give…." President Maduro, in turn, said that the opposition "played dirty" in order to "purchase" their wins.

From Jurist, Dec. 30. Used with permission.

  1. Venezuela high court blocks four elected lawmakers

    The Venezuelan Supreme Court on Dec. 30 blocked four recently elected lawmakers from taking their seats in the General Assembly. Three are anti-government and one is member of the socialist party. The presence of these lawmakers on the assembly would place a super-majority in the hands of Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) and would give the party power to censure top government officials or even change the constitution.

    The ruling was made after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claimed in a speech that the Dec. 6 polls in which his party lost control of the National Assembly were fraudulent and challenged his opponents victory in the courts. The election results are seen as a setback to the ruling party. Jesus Torrealba, executive secretary for the MUD, said in an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that "[t]his is a victory for democracy." He went on to say on Twitter that "The National Assembly represents the sovereignty of the people, and the president is trying to violate that using a biased court. On January 5, we will swear in the National Assembly and preserve that sovereignty as the Venezuelan people and international observers look on." (Jurist)