A rushed Supreme Tribunal Constitutional Chamber ruling tonight bars MUD —the opposition’s umbrella organization— from having a spot in April’s presidential election ballot. Continuing its divide-and-conquer strategy, chavismo is set to allow only its preferred opponents to contest the April vote against them.
Following a novel judicial interpretation, the Sala Constitucional ruled that to ‘validate’ a party amounts to becoming a registered member of that party. Since MUD is an umbrella organization made up of political parties, it can’t have registered members of its own — or a spot on the ballot.
Total gobbledygook, in other words.
In practice the decision means that only Acción Democrática (AD), Primero Justicia (PJ) will be allowed to try to re-establish ballot access this weekend, with MUD and Voluntad Popular unable to fight to regain official party status. AAvanzada Progresista and Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT) will remain on the ballot, since they did not join the boycott of municipal elections on December 10th, 2017.
Earlier, the U.S. State Department had made it clear Uncle Sam will not recognize whomever is elected through this process.
In CNE’s official view, the problem of elections fraud in Venezuela is that MUD cheats!
While AD was never going to lose ballot access, PJ and VP had claimed they would give up their places on the ballot in favor of the MUD ticket. VP took itself out of the running by deciding not to formally file the paperwork needed to regain ballot access this weekend. However, PJ stills has a chance (theoretically) at climbing back onto the ballot.
By taking MUD out of the equation, AD and PJ will now compete in the revalidation process, since each voter can “join” only one party.
The decision by the Constitutional Chamber overrides the decision made by CNE earlier today that MUD could not revalidate its status in the 7 states (Zulia, Apure, Monagas, Bolívar, Trujillo, Aragua y Carabobo) where it faced legal charges of alleged electoral fraud committed during the 2016 signature collection campaign.
It no longer matters, juridically, but it’s nonetheless worth reflecting on the fact that, in CNE’s official view, the problem of elections fraud in Venezuela is that MUD cheats!