The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday severely criticized the head of Venezuela’s electoral board in a harshly-worded letter saying authorities were failing to ensure fair elections in December. The OAS’ Luis Almagro wrote a 19-page letter to Tibisay Lucena, who heads Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), urging her to level the playing field between the Socialist Party and opposition. “There are reasons to believe that the conditions in which people will vote … aren’t right now as transparent and just as the (electoral council) ought to guarantee,” wrote Almagro. He was responding to a letter from Lucena which was not made public. The CNE did not respond to a request for comment.
Government critics say authorities are trying to tilt the Dec. 6 legislative elections toward the Socialist Party, which could lose control of parliament as President Nicolas Maduro struggles under a collapsing state-led economic system.
Almagro said that Maduro’s governing Socialist Party has unfair electoral advantages in its use of public resources in the campaign, access to the press, confusion in voting cards and the disqualification of some opposition political figures.