Reading the CNE Nominations Committee Tea Leaves

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The process for selecting the five members of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) is about as convoluted as convoluted gets – it reminds you of nothing so much as the process for selecting Venetian doges. Just to recap how it all works:

  1. First, the National Assembly selects a Preliminary Committee of Assembly Members to select Civil Society’s representatives on the CNE Nominations Committee. (Done.)
  2. That Preliminary Committee solicits input from civil society organizations for people to sit on the CNE Nominations Committee. (Done)
  3. The Preliminary Committee checks the people suggested by civil society to serve on the CNE Nominations Committee and drafts a preliminary list of vetted candidates. (We are here.)
  4. The National Assembly selects ten people from the list drafted by the Preliminary Committee to serve as Civil Socety representatives on the CNE Nominations Committee (this is the next step.)
  5. Those ten Civil Society representatives sit on the CNE Nominations Committee alongside 11 National Assembly Members.
  6. The 21-member CNE Nominations Committee solicits civil society for possible CNE board members.
  7. The CNE Nominations Committee picks a short-list of qualified, impartial candidates for the CNE board
  8. Chavez chooses the five he likes best. (OK, ok, officially the National Assembly selects five names from the CNE Nominations Committee’s short-list by a two-thirds majority, but lets get real here.)

Today, the Preliminary Committee completed step 3, handing down a list of 57 vetted civil society candidates for the CNE Nominations Committee. I decided to spend three hours of this lazy Sunday googling them one-by-one.

The punchline: the preliminary list includes 16 chavistas, 11 opposition members and six nominees that are not clearly affiliated with one side or the other. The rest of the list doesn’t have a discernible Google Trail.

Highlights from my little Google Hunt:

In the end, it’s more than obvious who’s going to call the shots here. Still, I think we’ll get some indication of how the wind is blowing from seeing which of these people end up in the final CNE Nominations Committee. Call it Kremlinologia del Siglo XXI.

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