Clash of powers...but not as you know it.

With CNE now officially asking the Supreme Tribunal to dismiss challenges over null voting, a whole new kind of "conflicto de poderes" looms.

[Correction: The CNE motion relates specifically to charges that null votes could have altered the result of the election, not to the allegations of vote-buying in the South of the country. I apologize for the mistake.]

The National Electoral Council – CNE – has motioned for the Supreme Tribunal’s Electoral Chamber to dismiss the challenges relating to null votes against the four Southern Venezuela deputies (three from Amazonas State, one indigenous representative from Amazonas and Apure). This sets the stage for perhaps the most visible, sensitive clash between two nominally chavista branches of the state.

CNE argues that under no circumstances can the challenges brought over null votes invalidate the promulgación of these four representatives.

This is a crucial case because, if the Tribunal rules in favor of CNE, it will restore the MUD’s unquestionable 2/3rds supermajority in the National Assembly, which would enable it to change Organic Laws (cough cough TSJlaw cough) or even call a Constituent Assembly.

If TSJ doesn’t follow CNE’s request, it will be the first open rift in many years between two chavista branches of government – and a strong hint that while TSJ may be game to obstruct anything that comes its way, CNE may not be.

Interestinger and interestinger…