Venezuela’s Supreme Court Rules Against Annulment of Presidential Election Results

Local council elections have also been called for December this year.

By Paul Dobson
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Venezuela’s Supreme Court, Caracas (Archive)
Venezuela’s Supreme Court, Caracas (Archive)

Merida, June 14, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s highest legal body has thrown out an attempt to nullify the presidential elections held this past May 20 which had been introducted by losing opposition candidate Henri Falcon.

Magistrates of the electoral tribunal of the country’s Supreme Court (TSJ) declared the official request as “inadmissible,” explaining that Falcon did not provide sufficient evidence to support his claims of voter coercion and vote buying.

According to the TSJ’s sentence, Falcon “did not present the necessary evidence which would have allowed this court to judge the validity of the accusations of fraud in the electoral process.”

The court also argued that Falcon did not specify which voters, communities, voting booths or centres were subject to these alleged felonies.

In response to the ruling, Falcon took to Twitter, suggesting that his faction might abandon peaceful democratic tactics, in as much as he claimed that the TSJ is “closing the door to any peaceful and electoral way out of the current crisis.”

He also called for “divine justice” against those who made the ruling and repeated his request for the elections to be repeated.

Incumbent President Nicolas Maduro won the elections with 68% of the vote. Opposition frontrunner Falcon achieved 21%, whilst his fellow right-wing candidate, Javier Bertucci, won 11%. Only minutes before official results were announced and with his apparent defeat clear, Falcon cried fraud, going back on his pre-electoral claims to respect the results.

Whereas the international electoral accompaniment mission present in Venezuela - which included the Council of Latin American Electoral Experts and representation from the African Union - declared the process free and fair, many US-allied governments have failed to recognise the results.

For his part, President Maduro has claimed that the only recognition which the electoral process requires is that of the Venezuelan people.

On the same day that the Supreme Court blocked Falcon’s attempt to nullify the elections, Maduro announced plans for further elections, this time for municipal councillors.

Speaking at a meeting with the youth of his United Socialist Party, Maduro declared that he has formally requested National Electoral Council (CNE) to evaluate dates in December for the election of the 2,523 councillors composing the country’s 335 municipal councils.

A renovation of local councillors is well overdue, with their four-year terms having expired in December 2017.

As in the past, Maduro called for the international community to accompany the upcoming elections, which will be Venezuela’s 25th since 1999 and its fifth in a year and a half.

“I call on the CNE to convene all of the international organisms -- the European Union, the African Union, the Asian Union, UNASUR, the electoral councils, electoral experts from Latin America and the world, observers from Europe and North America -- to come again and participate in our electoral process,” Maduro said.