Opposition State Governor Urges Venezuelan Elections to be Postponed

Opposition Governor Manuel Rosales, said elections should be postponed, but did not say his party, Nuevo Tiempo, which is expected to win many seats, would withdraw from vote. The Electoral Council said it will definitely not postpone the vote.

Caracas, Venezuela, December 1, 2005 – The Governor of Zulia, Manuel Rosales, from the Nuevo Tiempo (New Time) party, wants the National Assembly elections postponed. He did not say, though, that his party would not withdraw its candidates should the elections not be postponed.

Rosales also wants a “high-level commission” set up to help find a solution to the conflict. At a press conference earlier today, Rosales said elections should be delayed for a, “better moment, for another day.”

Venezuelans have been anxiously awaiting Rosales’ position on the recent withdrawal of four key opposition parties because he is the only successful opposition leader to have survived the pro-Chavez state governor landslide last October 2004. As a result, he is considered one of the country’s few up and coming opposition leaders.

The Zulia Governor said Venezuela is intensely alarmed and worried about the elections. Rosales wants a commission with representation from all sectors to, “evaluate the situation, to clear up all the doubts.” Rosales then said everyone can participate, “in an election process where nobody will have anything bad to say.”

Rosales said his party will fight in the elections and is confident of winning many seats in Zulia. The State Governor said he was commenting about the national elections because, “we cannot just say dismissively what is happening in Venezuela isn’t important for us just because we will win anyway in Zulia.”

Rosales said that both the government and the opposition will not benefit from abstention. The State Governor said the biggest losers of the “political war” will be the poor of Venezuela. Rosales said during this argument, “We all should think of the hungry, those today without anything to eat, the children in the streets.”

Electoral Council Confirms Elections Will Not Be Postponed

Jorge Rodriguez, the President of the National Electoral Council confirmed today that the elections would not be postponed. Rodriguez said opposition abstention is not serious. Those candidates who have so far said they are not participating make up only 78 of the over 4,000 candidates registered to take part and that this small group cannot dictate or blackmail the Electoral Council’s decisions.