Venezuela ANC legislature names commission for congressional elections


The head of the government-supporting National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela (ANC), Diosdado Cabello, on Tuesday named a commission to consult with the public with an eye toward holding parliamentary elections to replace the opposition-controlled National Assembly (AN).

“A constitutional commission (is designated) for the consultation ... on the parliamentary elections. This (was done) quickly, and (the consultation) has to be very fast, too. The only branch that is established in the Constitution that has not been recertified by this ANC is the legislative branch,” Cabello said in a parliamentary session.

Venezuela’s elected president, Nicolas Maduro , had said on Sunday that the ANC was seeing to “move up” the parliamentary elections scheduled for this year with an eye toward dealing with the “crisis” he says exists in the “bourgeoisie legislature” and he announced that he supports this idea.

Legislative elections in Venezuela, according to the Constitution, are held every five years, and this would mean that they should be held in December 2019.

However, if the consultation is held, it would not be the first time that the body, which is not recognized by the opposition or by many governments around the world, has called elections, given that it was tasked with convening the last regional, municipal and presidential ballottings.

The commission will be headed by Dario Vivas, one of the most radical Chavistas, who currently presides over the Citizen Participation Committee.

In addition, also serving on the commission will be the vice presidents of the other committees comprising the body.

Cabello, who is considered to be Chavismo’s No. 2 official, was insistent in calling for the consultation to be held “as quickly as possible.”

“Doing this should pose no problem because we’ve already had elections for governors, mayors ... and we’ve heard that the opposition has called for elections. I think that it’s a way to satisfy the opposition,” said Cabello, adding that the consultation could be held in a day or in a month.

The Venezuelan opposition is clamoring for a free and fair presidential election, since it considers the vote last May, in which re-election was handily won by Maduro, to be fraudulent and illegitimate because key opposition figures were banned from running.

The opposition calls Maduro a “usurper” and the head of the AN, Juan Guaido, on Jan. 23 proclaimed himself interim president.