Q24N — The Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela (TSJ) ordered this Monday to suspend the effects of the elections organized by the National Primary Commission on October 22, where candidate María Corina Machado was elected.
The representative of the Vente Venezuela party was chosen by opposition voters to be the rival of President Nicolás Maduro in the 2024 presidential elections.
The country’s highest court – accused by the opposition of acting in favor of the government – admitted the appeal filed by the ruling party deputy José Brito.
The representative of the National Assembly – who is not part of the political organizations that participated in the opposition election – requested a review of the internal process because it considered that there were irregularities and that it would have been “a big scam,” even though he did not offer evidence in this regard.
According to ruling number 122, the Supreme Court orders the organizing commission to record “the administrative background” of the twenty-five phases of the electoral process, which range from the call to the minutes of scrutiny, totalization and proclamation.
The court’s decision comes despite the agreement signed a few days ago between the government and the opposition, which included, among other electoral guarantees, “the authorization of all presidential candidates, as long as they comply with the requirements established by law.”
This agreement led the United States to lift some of the sanctions imposed on the Venezuelan government, following Maduro’s victory in the 2018 elections, elections that the opposition, the United States and a large part of the international community described as fraudulent for not fulfilling the guarantees.
The U.S. State Department said it would reinstate sanctions if Maduro’s government did not lift disqualifications on opposition candidates and release “political prisoners” and “unjustly detained” Americans by the end of November.
In this context, the primaries were held on October 22, in which Machado won by an overwhelming majority and with a participation of 2.3 million people, according to the latest bulletins.
The TSJ asked the election organizing commission to deliver the minutes of acceptance of the candidacy of the candidates disqualified by the Comptroller’s Office, as is the case of Machado, who has a prohibition order from holding a popularly elected position until 2030.
It also requested the minutes of the event that took place on October 22, including the minutes of the constitution of the polling stations, the voting notebooks, the voting ballots and the minutes of counts, among others.
The TSJ granted the National Primary Commission a period of three days to deliver a report indicating “the mechanism used to safeguard electoral material and the place designated for this purpose.”
The opposition and Machado, meanwhile, insist that the vote was transparent and fair.
The Prosecutor’s complaint
Venezuela’s attorney general, Tarek William Saab, ordered last Wednesday to open an investigation against the members of the National Primary Commission, because the internal election may have incurred four crimes.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the organizers may have committed usurpation of functions, usurpation of identity based on the hypothesis that names of people who did not vote were used, money laundering by not knowing the origin of the money with which the contest was held, and association to commit a crime.