The abysmal turnout at Venezuela’s presidential election on Sunday, with absenteeism at its highest rate in the country’s history (46%), has further weakened the government of President Nicolás Maduro. The main opposition force, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), called for a boycott of the vote for lacking proper guarantees, leaving Maduro to take an overwhelming victory – one that was only recognized as legitimate by the government. Maduro’s rivals Henri Falcón and Javier Bertucci demanded a repeat election, although the former later conceded defeat. The results mean that Maduro will continue as president of Venezuela until 2025. According to officials, Maduro won with 6.2 million votes, outperforming his closest rival Falcón, who received 1.9 million votes. It was a victory in a campaign marked by indifference and an election day during which more than half the electorate (a total of nine million) decided not to vote, believing the opposition’s argument that the polls, announced at the beginning of the year, would be fixed in favor of the authorities.
Articles about voting issues in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Venezuela: Lima Group condemns Maduro’s reelection; recalls ambassadors from Venezuela | The Santiago Times
The fourteen members of the Lima Group have declared they do not recognize the re-election of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in a Sunday vote marred by international accusations that it was rigged. All 14 members of the group issued a statement on Monday condemning the election and saying they will call back their ambassadors in Caracas for consultations on what to do next, as well as summon the Venezuelan ambassadors in each country to express their concerns. The statement also said the countries will reduce their diplomatic presences in Venezuela as a result. There is no indication in the statement that the Lima Group countries will permanently pull their ambassadors from Caracas.
Critics at home and abroad on Monday denounced the re-election of Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro as a farce cementing autocracy, while the U.S. government imposed new sanctions on the crisis-stricken oil-producing country. Maduro, the 55-year-old successor to late leftist leader Hugo Chavez, hailed his win in Sunday’s election as a victory against “imperialism.” But his main challengers alleged irregularities and refused to recognize the result. In response to the vote, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order restricting Venezuela’s ability to liquidate state assets and debt in the United States, the latest in a series of sanctions that seeks to choke off financing for the already cash-strapped government.
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has shrugged off international condemnation and allegations of vote buying and electoral fraud to claim a second six-year term at the helm of his crisis-stricken nation. Addressing crowds of supporters outside the presidential palace in Caracas on Sunday night, Maduro hailed the “impeccable electoral process” that had returned him to power with 67.7% of the vote. … Venezuela’s election board put turnout at just 46.1%, way down from the 80% registered at the last presidential vote in 2013, due to a boycott by Venezuela’s mainstream opposition.
When Ariles López takes a break from her fruit stall and begins to describe her life in Venezuela, there is a moment when she chokes up and begins to cry. That will not come as a surprise, when you hear her story. López, who’s 47, is among those Venezuelans who say they will vote in Sunday’s election, despite a widely held view that it’s a fraudulent exercise calculated to keep President Nicolás Maduro in power. She is desperate for change, after a year of personal hardship that underscores the scale of the multilayered catastrophe that is engulfing Venezuela: hyperinflation, widespread hunger, deaths from preventable diseases, and a wave of deadly crime.
Venezuela: Maduro’s Top Rival Has a Problem: Venezuela’s Opposition Won’t Vote | Wall Street Journal
Henri Falcón, the top Venezuelan opposition candidate in Sunday’s presidential election, faces two obstacles to winning: his friends and his foes. He must not only outmaneuver a ruling administration using state machinery to dominate the vote. Mr. Falcón must also overcome the reluctance of a coalition of like-minded opposition parties that is boycotting a contest they say is rigged. Mr. Falcón’s message, in contrast is: You can’t win if you don’t participate. “I decided to show my face to the country,” Mr. Falcón told followers last week from a stage in this hard-bitten industrial town southwest of Caracas. “I don’t care about the criticism…It’s the moment of truth now, a time for common sense, for being rational.”
The Lima Group of largely Latin American nations on Monday urged the Venezuelan government to suspend the presidential election scheduled for May 20, calling the process “illegitimate and lacking in credibility.” In a joint statement, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Lucia, Spain and the United States condemned Venezuela’s government and vowed to consider steps if the vote went ahead. The countries, not all of which belong formally to the group established last year in Lima to address the crisis in Venezuela, said they had analysed possible scenarios and identified a series of “actions” they could take. They did not provide details on what those might be.
Military officers are joining the exodus of Venezuelans to Colombia and Brazil, fleeing barracks and forcing President Nicolas Maduro’s government to call upon retirees and militia to fill the void. High desertion rates at bases in Caracas and the countryside are complicating security plans for the presidential election in 13 days, which by law require military custody of electoral materials and machinery at voting centers. “The number is unknown because it used to be published in the Official Gazette. Now, it is not,” said Rocio San Miguel, director of Control Ciudadano, a military watchdog group in Caracas. She said soldiers are fleeing for the same reason citizens are: “Wages are low, the quality of food and clothing isn’t good.”
Venezuela’s opposition on Thursday called for a boycott of the May 20 presidential election, urging those running against President Nicolas Maduro to withdraw their candidacy. “Don’t take part and leave the streets empty,” said a statement issued by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), the main opposition coalition, which said it would be a clear sign “rejecting Maduro’s regime and electoral fraud.” There are only two challengers running against Maduro, both former supporters of the late Hugo Chavez supporters who have distanced themselves from the current government.
Venezuela: Maduro set to abolish voting rights and other freedoms, Colombian president says | Miami Herald
It’s hard to know what will happen next in Venezuela, but what Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told me in an interview this week should raise alarm bells throughout the hemisphere. Santos said during a visit to Miami that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s hand-picked Constituent Assembly is drafting a new constitution that would be made public after Venezuela’s May 20 presidential elections. The new charter would officially turn Venezuela into a Cuban-style dictatorship, he said. Maduro, already a de facto dictator, is running for re-election for another five-year term. He has prohibited top opposition leaders from running against him, banned international election observers and refused to allow an independent electoral tribunal. The United States, European Union and all major Latin American countries — including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia — have said that they won’t accept the results of Maduro’s sham election.