Philadelphia, December 14, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) appointed two new rectors to the National Electoral Council (CNE) Tuesday amid an ongoing standoff with the opposition-held National Assembly.
The high court designated Socorro Elizabeth Hernandez as first rector of the national electoral body as well as Ivan Zerpa Guerrero as her substitute. The TSJ also tapped Tania D’ Amelio Cardiet as second rector of institution, appointing Gustavo Guevara Sifontes as her substitute.
Both rectors are already currently serving on the CNE and will consequently have their terms renewed for the period 2016-2023.
The TSJ justified the appointments– which normally fall under the jurisdiction of the National Assembly– by underscoring the legislature’s violation of a prior court ruling disqualifying all legislators from Amazonas state pending an investigation into electoral irregularities.
In August, the right-wing controlled parliament swore in three of the legislators in defiance of the ruling, moving the TSJ to declare the body “null and void in all of its actions”.
Under the terms of the Vatican-mediated dialogue, the opposition agreed to formally unseat the lawmakers in return for several concessions from the government and the return of the parliament’s constitutional powers.
While the legislators did resign last month, internal divisions within the opposition coalition prevented the legislature form issuing a formal resolution unseating them from parliament.
As such, the TSJ has ruled that all new parliamentary appointments to the CNE “lack validity, efficacy, and juridical existence” until the body complies with the court ruling.
National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup, for his part, blasted the move by the TSJ as “unconstitutional”.
“[In] another on the sly decision, the thugs of the unconstitutional TSJ repeat in the CNE two women with expired terms who represent the regime,” he tweeted.
The National Assembly has vowed to defy the decision and appoint new rectors to the body.