Venezuela’s socialists dispute eight Opposition election wins

Updated - June 13, 2016 10:19 am IST

Published - December 30, 2015 10:33 am IST - Caracas (Venezuela)

Allies of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro are disputing the election of eight Opposition candidates to the National Assembly, a move the Opposition says seeks to undermine its landslide victory in legislative elections.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court said it had received motions by losing candidates to overturn the results in several districts. It didn’t say on what grounds the challenges were made and nobody from the high court would comment.

But if the court were to overturn the results it would deprive the Opposition alliance of the two-thirds

“supermajority” it won this month by a single seat and which greatly enhances its power to rein in Mr.Maduro, sack Cabinet ministers and even convoke an assembly to rewrite Hugo Chavez’s 1999 constitution.

Many in the Opposition are denouncing the move by the government-stacked court as a guise to rob the Opposition of the full fruits of its victory. They’re also calling on the international community to condemn the move and safeguard the Venezuelans’ electoral wishes.

“You can’t use legal tricks to steal something the voters didn’t want to give you,” proclaimed Jesus Torrealba, secretary general of the Opposition coalition.

“We’re not living in a functional democracy,” Mr. Torrealba said in a press conference with several leaders of the incoming congress. “We’re living in a country where you can be surer about the operating hours of a liquor store than the elections tribunal of the Supreme Court.”

Mr. Maduro and his allies have been defiant in the face of defeat, vowing to deepen the revolution started by Chavez and overrun what they refer to as the “bourgeois parliament.”

Yesterday, the embattled leader briefly and only obliquely referred to the emerging dispute over the election results, saying that if authorities don’t he would reveal at an appropriate time evidence of vote-uying and other types of poll fraud by the Oposition.

“They’re playing dirty,” Mr. Maduro said during his weekly television program.

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