Media Center


Message from the Secretary General on Venezuela

  July 28, 2017

This Sunday the regime of Nicolas Maduro has decided to illegally convene Venezuelans for a clearly flawed election.

Without the constitutional power to do so, the Maduro regime established the rules for the election of the members of an illegitimate National Constituent Assembly.

The body responsible for implementing this fraudulent process is the National Electoral Council (CNE), that is an instrument of the agenda of the national government.

This is the same Electoral Council that ignored the will of the people to hold a recall referendum and also did not grant regional and municipal elections.

The rules for the constituent process violate the basic principles of democracy established in international treaties and in the very Constitution of the country.

545 delegates will be elected, 364 on a territorial basis at the municipal level and 181 between 8 sectors of society, in violation of the principle of proportional representation established in the Constitution.

The relative political weight of each vote will be very different depending on the place of residency of the voter.

Moreover, only those citizens who belong to one of the 8 sectors selected will be able to vote for a sectoral representative. The rest will not have this option.

It is clear that in Venezuela on Sunday the principles of equality and universality of the vote will be violated, by dividing society into sectors defined and controlled by the regime. In this sense, they controlled who could be candidates by sector and they manipulated the registry of who could vote by sector.

The organization of this process is plagued with irregularities.

For example, the usual audits of fingerprints were not carried out, nor were those of the systems of automated voting, vote counting, transmission and vote tallying.

Key activities and procedures were omitted in order to reduce the transparency and certainty of the electoral process.

As far as polling stations are concerned, fewer than half of those used in the last legislative elections will be used.

What´s more, there have been denunciations of governmental pressure to turn out to vote, for example the offer of bags of groceries to those who vote, the transportation of voters who receive government assistance handouts, as well as those who have el carné de la Patria.

Another mechanism of pressure that has been documented is the threat of firing of public officials and employees of government enterprises. There have also been threats of denying pensions to those who do not vote. Similarly, senior citizens in care centers have been threatened with being thrown out if they don´t vote.

Regime authorities have also said that they should take the payroll lists of all public companies and call the workers together to agree on when and how they would go to vote. And at the end of the day authorities should check the list to see who had not gone to vote.

Similarly, barriers to citizen control have been established. The accreditation of witnesses and national observers was not allowed during the voting process.

It is clear that there are more than enough technical arguments to disqualify the process on Sunday.

Venezuela needs the Constitution to be respected, and therefore that the National Constituent Assembly process be halted. Venezuelans need to be able to decide their future in free, universal, clean and internationally observed elections.

Reference: S-024/17