President Nicolás Maduro’s party and its allies have won the Venezuelan legislative elections, have been boycotted by the opposition parties.
With more than 80% of the vote counted, his coalition received 67.6% of the vote, the National Electoral Council said.
What Does This Victory Mean?
The victory means that Mr Maduro now has full control of the country’s political structures.
The strike is led by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has been in a two-year power struggle with Mr Maduro.
The opposition party, which ended the boycott, received 18% of the vote, and 31% of the vote, said National Electoral Council (CNE) president Indira Alfonzo.
The Outcome Of These Results
The National Assembly, which is the only institution controlled by the opposition party, will now be run by Mr Maduro’s party and other supporters.
The National Assembly, which is the legislative and budget-friendly body, has long served in the Maduro Department of Administration.
So much so that in 2017 Mr Maduro convened a National Constituent Assembly, consisting only of his supporters.
During the election of the new constitution, the National Assembly, which has more power than the National Assembly, instead passed laws, looking to the side of the National Assembly led by the opposition party.
But the National Assembly plays an important role. Under the Venezuelan constitution, the government needs the approval of the National Assembly to ratify international agreements and sign major contracts with foreign companies.
Once the new lawmakers are sworn in on 5 January 2021, checks and ratings to be made by the National Assembly will go down the road.
It is possible that the government is now in charge of the National Assembly but the low turnout has never been a “success”.
Indeed, there are people who cast their votes, some still cling to the incumbent, some cite their democratic right and many other consequences of fear of consequences such as loss of food if they do not.
But for the most part, there is a state of abandonment. Many Venezuelans I spoke to this past week did not see the point in this election and decided that there were better things to do on Sunday.
The main line at petrol stations instead of polling stations explains what you need to know about politics here – that Venezuelans just want to survive one day and that politics just goes away.
Juan Guaidó’s Stance
Juan Guaidó became the speaker of the National Assembly in 2019. He and his supporters argued that Mr Maduro’s re-election as President in 2018 was “not free and fair” and that as a result the presidency was vacant.
He called for a constitutional provision stating that in cases where the presidency is vacant, the Speaker must take over as interim president.
With the support of the National Assembly, he was sworn in as interim president on January 23, 2019. He was immediately recognized as the official leader of Venezuela by the United States and more than 50 other countries.
However, Mr Maduro was still in charge of government institutions, most of the judiciary, election officials and the military, and continued to rule in the presidential palace.
Mr Guaidó urged voters to boycott the by-elections this month, saying election officials were focused on supporters of the government, and that the vote would not be free and fair.
However, it means that once the new legislatures are convened on 5 January 2021, he will no longer be a speaker and his temporary presidential claim will begin to be questioned.
Mr Guaidó has already announced that he will hold a week-long “public consultation”, a kind of referendum, from Monday where he will ask Venezuelans whether they accept the results of the National Assembly elections and whether they want a change in government.
With the number of voters in Sunday’s by-elections very low, he hopes to have a high turnout and plans to argue that his legitimacy as interim leader is due to the support he receives in that vote.
A senior member of the Maduro government threatened members of the outgoing National Assembly with arrest.
Former Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez, who is Mr Maduro’s right-hand man, said on December 2 that opposition politicians would be “arrested after January 5 because they are thieves, drug dealers, traitors and traitors”.
Mr Maduro won and said the election would mark the beginning of a new era in Venezuela, which has been hit by an economic crisis that has left more than 4.5 million people in the country.
“The people have elected their new legislatures, and we have had great success in the elections,” he said when the results were announced.
Mr Guaidó said the low turnout was a sign that most Venezuelans had “turned their backs on Maduro and his deception”. “Those who are afraid of the people are the ones who are cheating, and Maduro and his government are losing a popular vote,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described Sunday’s study as “fraud and deception“. “The results announced by Maduro’s illegal regime will not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people,” he wrote on Twitter.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo called it the “electoral farce” and Maduro’s “dictatorial” effort to enforce its rule.
The United States Agency for International Development (OAS) has also stated that it will not see a response.
What is a background?
Under Maduro’s government, the economy has collapsed and food and medicine shortages are widespread.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently about 4.5 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela around the world.
The United States has imposed severe sanctions on the Maduro government, which has added fuel shortages to long queues at petrol stations.
Many opposition politicians have been arrested and some have fled into exile.