Cilia Flores, wife of Nicolás Maduro, will head the preliminary nomination committee that must elect a new National Electoral Council (CNE). The fulminating political operation ordered by the Miraflores Palace has arbitrarily dynamited the electoral arbiter of next year's presidential elections, in which the "people president" will attend as the standard-bearer of the Chavista ruling party.

This was announced Thursday in Caracas by Jorge Rodríguez, president of the Bolivarian legislative body, who has imposed the dismissal of the two opposition rectors after the resignation on Wednesday of the three Chavistas, including President Pedro Calzadilla.

"The formation of a new CNE must come out urgently, as established in the law and the Constitution," said Rodríguez, Maduro's left-hand man and brother of Vice President Delcy Rodríguez. The Bolivarian parliament has forced the change of the five titular rectors and the ten substitutes at the convenience of Miraflores, which violates Venezuelan legality, which considers the CNE an independent power to the rest.

Rodriguez also announced who are the deputies who will accompany the first revolutionary fighter in a process that can be stretched for several months and that seeks to prevent the October opposition primaries from having technical assistance from the electoral body, as was agreed last week.

All of them are of total confidence of Maduro, starting with Ricardo Sánchez, a collaborator who was even a student leader against Hugo Chávez and substitute for María Corina Machado in the parliamentary elections. He currently heads the Alliance for Change.

Also included are José Gregorio Correa, belonging to the pro-Maduro split of the opposition Democratic Action (AD), and Luis Romero, secretary general of Avanzada Progresista, which is part of the "opposition" bloc sponsored by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to favor Maduro. Romero participated in the controversial meeting of the three leaders of this bloc in Madrid with José Manuel Albares, Spanish Foreign Minister, in the latest turn of the screw made by the government of Pedro Sánchez with respect to Venezuela.

The participation of these deputies confirms the intention of Chavismo to give them a position of principal rector of the CNE, which would go from having three Chavistas and two opponents to being made up of three hard-line officialists, plus a collaborationist and a democratic opponent.

"The resignation of the official rectors of the CNE, which produces institutional paralysis induced for an indefinite time, complicates the organization of the primaries, stimulates internal opposition fractures and promotes electoral skepticism," said Luis Vicente León, president of Datanalisis.

The National Primary Commission (NPC), in charge of organizing the internal elections of the opposition, has declared itself in permanent session. Everything indicates that this process will be "self-managed" without public aid. The CNP and the defunct CNE reached a technical assistance agreement last week that today remains in limbo.

The strong impact suffered in the opposition ranks did not prevent the political acts of their candidates from continuing yesterday, especially the great favorite, María Corina Machado. The conservative leader again suffered harassment from Chavista radicals precisely in Tinaquillo, the hometown of Cilia Flores.

  • Venezuela
  • Nicolas Maduro

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