President Nicolas Maduro is doubling-down on plans to concentrate power by calling Wednesday for early congressional elections to coincide with a presidential vote in April that opponents hours earlier said they would boycott unless steps are taken to ease fears it’s rigged. Pushing ahead a vote for the democratically elected National Assembly could spell a shake-up in the last branch of government still out of Maduro’s control. The opposition’s move edging to an outright boycott means Maduro is unlikely to face any major challenge in the April 22 race despite widespread anger over his handling of an economy marred by soaring inflation and shortages of food and life-saving medicine.
Articles about voting issues in South America.
Colombia’s Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons (FARC) is considering resuming its presidential elections campaign which was suspended on February 9 due to security concerns. Following a meeting with authorities on Saturday, the former guerrilla group turned political entity announced it’s analyzing the feasibility of returning to the campaign trail after the government of Juan Manuel Santos offered ‘guarantees.’ Late Friday, leaders of the FARC met with Interior Minister Guillermo Rivera to communicate the main concerns they have as a political organization. FARC leader and presidential candidate Rodrigo ‘Timochenko’ Londoño told media he had outlined his party’s concerns about right-wing groups promoting intolerance and threatening violence in a bid to jeopardize the peace process.
A top Venezuelan opposition party announced on Friday it would boycott April’s presidential vote, showing divides within the opposition coalition. Popular Will, the third largest opposition party, said it would “not nominate or endorse any candidate” in the April 22 presidential election that it says amounts to a “fraud,” DW reported. “Those who register in these conditions are doing the dictatorship a favor,” said the party led by Leopoldo Lopez. He is under house arrest on allegations of inciting violence in 2014 protests. Venezuela’s opposition is huddled around the Democratic Unity Round Table (MUD), an alliance of some 20 parties opposed to Socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
When Colombia struck a peace deal two years ago, the formula to end the western hemisphere’s longest civil conflict seemed simple: in return for handing in their weapons, leaders of the Marxist Farc guerrilla group would be able to run for office in elections this year. But nothing has proved simple when it comes to resolving a conflict that has claimed 200,000 lives, displaced millions and still inflames raw emotions. Although the fighting has not re-started, both the peace formula and Colombia’s democratic credentials are being severely tested ahead of presidential elections in May, thanks to a particularly poisonous campaign.
Venezuela’s National Electoral Council highlights 15 audits have been planned to guarantee the process’ transparency. Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) has confirmed the date for the next presidential elections will be April 22 and provided details on the dates for voter and candidate registration. The announcement was made by Sandra Oblitas, CNE’s Vice-president, who added that 531 locations would be open throughout the country for voters to register and to change where they vote. Venezuelans will have until Feb. 20 to register to vote in the presidential elections.
The demobilised Colombian rebel group Farc says it is suspending political campaigning for upcoming elections following threats to its candidates. Farc signed a peace deal with the government in 2016 and announced last year it was forming a political party. However, protesters have disrupted its rallies, particularly those for leader Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko, who is running for president. On Friday the party demanded “security guarantees” for its candidates.
The Venezuelan government’s decision to plow ahead with early presidential elections over the objections of the opposition risks spurring more international sanctions and exacerbating an economic and social crisis driving increasing numbers of Venezuelans into exile, analysts said Thursday. Opposition politicians were meeting the day after officials announced the April 22 vote, deciding whether to challenge socialist President Nicolas Maduro in an election that several foreign nations have already vowed not to recognize — or to boycott it. They accuse Maduro’s government of rigging recent elections and making a fair race impossible, in part by barring the most popular opposition parties and candidates. International condemnation of the snap election has begun pouring in.
Venezuela: Few Challengers in Sight, Venezuela Sets April 22 for Presidential Vote | The New York Times
The Venezuelan government said Wednesday that it would hold a snap presidential election on April 22, putting the unpopular administration of President Nicolás Maduro in the hands of voters at a time when most top challengers have been barred from running. The announcement was made by Tibisay Lucena, the president of the country’s electoral commission, who said the date had been chosen after negotiations with opposition politicians had failed to reach an agreement about how to conduct the election fairly. The election will allow Venezuelans to “freely decide their fate,” she said. “We are committed, as always, to our constitutional task, to guarantee the right conditions so that democratic differences are settled through an efficient, transparent and balanced vote.”
South America: E-voting firm Smartmatic could miss out on Brazilian and Venezuelan election | BNamericas
The printers developed by Venezuelan-owned e-voting firm Smartmatic have been rejected this week in a vote-casting compliance test carried out by Brazil’s top electoral court TSE. The test concluded that Smartmatic’s “engineering model” did not comply with the bidding requirements. While the QR codes printed by the Smartmatic model were read correctly by electronic devices, the proportions of the codes did not meet the requirements, TSE said. Smartmatic had won with a 67.3mn real-bid (US$20.7mn) a public tender held in January by TSE to provide 30,000 printers for Brazil’s general elections in October. Those printers are expected to be integrated to the same number of voting machines to give voters a paper copy of their vote. … Meanwhile, Smartmatic is also most certainly out of the April elections in the country where it began its operations: Venezuela.
With a fresh victory in hand, Ecuadoreans will be looking for President Lenin Moreno to move beyond the political duel with his domineering predecessor and focus his attention on the nation’s stagnant economy. Ecuadoreans voted by a landslide in a nationwide referendum Sunday to limit presidents to just one re-election, barring three-time former President Rafael Correa from returning to power. The measure was approved by an almost 2-to-1 margin, sending the strongest signal yet that the Andean nation is ready to shift gears away from Correa, the leftist strongman who has dominated the nation’s politics over the last decade. But how far Moreno will diverge from Correa’s agenda remains to be seen.