The legislative elections set for December 6th in Venezuela have become the central axis of the country’s political struggle, with repercussions on the internal balances of the opposition, in the clash between the president, Nicolas Maduro, and his rivals, and also on the international board.
The Government rejected this Thursday to postpone the convocation to be renewed by the National Assembly, dominated since 2015 by the forces critical of Chavismo. It did so after the European Union formally requested to hold them in the first half of 2021, considering that the guarantees for a competition on parity of conditions are not given, for now. Brussels thus declined the possibility of sending an observation mission and the opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who a month ago had been open to participate, also backed down and demanded to postpone the electoral process.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded through a statement that represents an amendment to all of Europe’s proposals. The Foreign Ministry describes the position of the EU as “biased”, affirms that it “insists on ignoring the efforts made by the Venezuelan State” and considers it “regrettable” and “inadmissible” that it presented “a list of conditions”. With these premises, the Government, which in recent weeks had agreed to a series of gestures, some very relevant such as the release of a hundred prisoners and politically persecuted, ruled out moving the date of the elections.
“On December 6th, in strict and due adherence to the provisions of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the twenty-fifth election in 20 years of the Bolivarian revolution will be carried out freely and sovereignly,” the statement, which, as usual, stirs up the ghost of the external enemy. “In this regard, the Venezuelan State will not admit interference or alleged external protection of any nature. Consequently, Venezuela hopes that the European Union will maintain an attitude consistent with the principles that govern international law and limit itself to fulfilling a positive and respectful facilitating role ”.
These statements ratify the deep mistrust of the current leadership of the National Assembly, headed by Juan Guaidó, towards Chavismo. The opposition leader and his followers rejected from the beginning to participate in those elections, which were scheduled for the end of this year, on the grounds of not giving them legitimacy.
On Thursday Parliament approved “an agreement to promote a popular consultation to hold free, fair and verifiable elections and reject fraud.” This referendum seeks to gather support for the international pressure mechanisms that force presidential elections and at the same time reiterate the rejection of the December appointment. However, like all the initiatives promoted by Guaidó, its scope is eminently symbolic in nature, since Maduro has not lost control of the state apparatus.
For the moment, the regime maintains its refusal to any change in the calendar and only has the complicity of a minority sector of the opposition that agrees to participate in the December parliamentary elections. However, Maduro, very isolated on the international map with the exception of his traditional allies such as Russia, China, Turkey and Iran, needs to maintain a channel of dialogue with Brussels. And the pressure for the Executive to postpone the elections has just begun.