The Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice suspended this Monday, October 30 “all effects” of the opposition primary elections, in the midst of judicial questions against the process that took place after the United States relaxed sanctions against the country in exchange for electoral conditions.
The internal elections to choose the president’s rival Nicolas Maduro In the 2024 elections, they were held in a self-managed manner on October 22, with a surprising participation of 2.4 million people and a devastating victory for the disqualified liberal Maria Corina Machadowith 92% of the votes.
But Maduro, his party and the rest of the authorities maintained that the opposition inflated the numbers and were unaware of the process.
Maduro’s opponent rejected Chavismo’s accusations against the result of the primaries
The Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), of official line, admitted an appeal for protection against the primary filed by the dissident opponent Jose Britomember of Parliament and branded as a collaborationist.
“All the effects of the different phases of the electoral process conducted by the ‘national primary commission’ are suspended,” said the ruling published on the website of the country’s highest court.
The prosecutor Tarek William Saab opened an investigation and summoned Jesús María Casal, president of the National Primary Commission (CNP) and other members of his team to testify as “investigated”.
The primaries were held five days after the government and the opposition agreed to respect the primaries at a dialogue table, where it was also decided to hold the presidential elections in the second half of 2024 with observation by the European Union and other international actors.
The United States allowed Venezuelan debt to be negotiated and its bonds soared
In response, the United States eased the oil embargo imposed on the country in 2019 for six months, but conditioned it on enabling opponents like Machado, something that Chavismo, at least in the speech, took for granted.
In fact, in its ruling, the TSJ refers to Machado as a “citizen firmly disqualified for 15 years,” reaffirming a sanction imposed in June for alleged corruption and for promoting sanctions, which the opposition calls unconstitutional.
What the Venezuelan justice system investigates about the electoral process
Casal, his vice president Mildred Camero, and Roberto Abdul-Hadi, a deputy on the board, are questioned by prosecutors with jurisdiction in “matter against money laundering, financial and economic crimes”, as indicated in the court summons.
The prosecutor’s office is investigating the alleged commission of crimes of usurpation of electoral and identity functions, as well as money laundering and criminal association. The Electoral Chamber also warned about “the alleged commission of electoral crimes and the alleged commission of common crimes.”
“I don’t feel bad, I don’t have a guilt complex. What (the prosecutor) says is different from what we actually did, but those will be matters that will be discussed in court,” Camero told AFP days ago.
“Without citizen pressure we will not have clean elections in Venezuela”
The primary did not have the assistance of the National Electoral Council (CNE), which, after months of evasions, finally proposed at the last minute to postpone the event for a month to be able to organize them but without guarantees of being able to register disqualified candidates, a condition of the opposition. .
The court also demanded the “administrative background, containing the 25 phases that must govern the electoral process,” including the voting notebooks, which the opposition insists on keeping secret to avoid reprisals against the participants by the government.
In the past, Chavismo already published a list with the names of those who signed to call for a recall referendum between 2003 and 2004 against former president Hugo Chávez (1999-2013); and there were ‘signatories’ fired from the public administration or not hired due to their opposition to the government.