UNASUR Arrives in Venezuela as Parliamentary Campaigns Launch

A delegation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) arrived yesterday in Caracas to install their observer mission for Venezuela’s upcoming Parliamentary elections on December 6th.

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UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper (R) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. (TeleSUR)
UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper (R) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. (TeleSUR)

Santa Elena, November 18th, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com)- A delegation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) arrived yesterday in Caracas to install their observer mission for Venezuela’s upcoming Parliamentary elections on December 6th.

UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper, who accompanied the mission, told reporters “We're here to make sure that these elections turn out good and Venezuela's democracy comes out strengthened.”

Venezuela’s electoral council, known as the CNE, signed a contract with UNASUR last week permitting the bloc access to each level of the voting process, during which 19 million people will cast their ballots for the 165 deputies that make up the country’s National Assembly. 

On Monday, the CNE performed an audit of it’s automated electoral platform equipped with touch-screen voting machines which provide printouts for the voter confirming their selection.

The Venezuelan electoral process traditionally goes through 17 audits to guarantee its transparency.

Before an official agreement could be reached, Brazil said last month it was pulling out of the UNASUR mission after Venezuela refused to accept its choice for delegation leader.

The delegation will now be led by former president of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernandez, appointed by Samper.

According to the Secretary-General, the group will be made up of 50 “experts” in electoral matters who represent a variety of independent organizations.

Campaign Launch

Many international media outlets have quoted president Nicolas Maduro as saying the ruling socialist party must do “whatever it takes” to secure a win.

Although the original comment was made in a plea for supporters to set aside any differences and vote in unity, multiple reporters have used the comment to suggest the Venezuelan government plans to reject the results in the case of an opposition win.

However, on October 27th when Maduro signed an agreement with the CNE vowing to respect the results of the Dec 6th elections, the opposition refused to endorse the pledge.

As campaigns officially launched on November 6th, pro-government activists have grown wary of “minimal mobilization” initiated by the opposition parties.

“It would seem they’ve thrown in the towel, [or] it would seem the opposition has a plan B, because they’re not conducting a practical campaign,” said Juan Barreto, the national spokesperson for the socialist party Redes, today. 

In lieu of taking to the streets, opposition candidates seem to be focusing their campaign efforts on short videos posted to social media, in an apparent bid to win young votes.

The opposition would need to gain a two-thirds majority in order to revise constitutional law or petition the Supreme Court for presidential impeachment. A three-quarters majority would be required to remove the vice-president or ministers from office.

Currently, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) holds just under two-thirds of the 165 congressional seats.