Image credit: Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB) and International IDEA.
Venezuela has scheduled parliamentary elections for 6 December where it will completely renew its National Assembly for a five-year term. Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB) and International IDEA published a report to provide a diagnosis and conclusions on the election, as well as to formulate recommendations on key aspects of electoral integrity.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this commentary are those of the author. This commentary is independent of specific national or political interests. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the institutional position of International IDEA, its Board of Advisers or its Council of Member States.
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On Thursday 12 November, a Report on the 2020 parliamentary elections in Venezuela was presented to national and international media. The presentation was conducted by the Study Mission of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Center for Political and Government Studies of the Andrés Bello Catholic University (CEPyG-UCAB). The event also counted with the cooperation of the Chair of Free Democracy and Elections of the Central University of Venezuela, the Venezuelan Electoral Observatory, the NGO Súmate, and the expert electoral journalist, Eugenio Martínez.
The study provides a diagnosis of the political-electoral context, based on fundamental aspects of the process that will be held on 6 December. It addresses topics on electoral justice, the state of the Electoral Registry, technological uncertainties in the face of new acquisitions, fair conditions of electoral competition, and electoral observation. Likewise, it provides precise conclusions and recommendations for the achievement of better electoral conditions and transparent, reliable, and democratic processes.
Those who participated in the presentation where Father Francisco José Virtuoso, Dean of UCAB; Benigno Alarcón, Director of CEPyG-UCAB; Eglée González Lobato, Director of the Free Democracy and Elections Chair; Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of International IDEA; and Percy Medina, Head of Mission for Peru of International IDEA.
Father Francisco José Virtuoso, Dean of the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB). Image credits: Politika UCAB.
The Dean of the Andres Bello Catholic University, Father Francisco José Virtuoso, who gave the opening words of the event, said that the upcoming National Assembly elections will aggravate the crisis in Venezuela. He made reference to the recent electoral processes that have taken place in Chile, Bolivia and the United States, emphasizing that they all show “very serious” political crises and “terribly polarized” societies with elements of strong political confrontation.
Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of International IDEA. Image credits: Polítika UCAB.
The Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of International IDEA, Daniel Zovatto, stressed that it is not possible to generate confidence in an election, "if underlying issues are not addressed", such as the formation of the current National Electoral Council (CNE), untimely changes in electoral regulations, doubts about the new voting system, and the judicialization and intervention of political parties.
Benigno Alarcón, Director of the UCAB Center for Political and Government Studies. Image credits: Polítika UCAB.
The Director of the Center for Political and Government Studies of the Andrés Bello Catholic University (CEPyG-UCAB), Benigno Alarcón, who was the moderator of the presentation, explained that in the Venezuelan case we can perceive mechanisms of competitive patronage. He explained that authoritarian regimes "repeatedly face electoral processes against a fragmented opposition, a situation that is not directly related to electoral conditions, but to the political game."
Percy Medina, Head of Mission for Peru of International IDEA. Image credits: Polítika UCAB.
The Head of Mission for Peru of International IDEA, Percy Medina, alluded to several aspects of the report and asked himself: How can the autonomy of political organizations be guaranteed? How is it possible to avoid judicialization and interference by the institutions of electoral justice in the appointment of authorities and decisions? Faced with these questions, he pointed out that there is no electoral integrity without political autonomy.
Eglée González Lobato, Director of the Free Democracy and Elections Chair. Image credits: Polítika UCAB.
The Director of the Free Democracy and Elections Chair, Eglée González Lobato, highlighted the relevance of the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipated that the 6D elections could become a potential day for contagion.
For more details on the presentation, click here.