Venezuelan Supreme Court Faces Pressure To Change Election Outcome

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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In a bid to change the outcome of Venezuela’s Dec. 6 legislative elections, the ruling Venezuelan Socialist Party wants to appoint sympathetic judges to the country’s Supreme Court.

The conservative Democratic Unity Roundtable, known as MUD, publicly accused Socialist President Nicolas Maduro Wednesday of using “legal tricks to steal something the voters didn’t want to give you.”

The “legal tricks” MUD officials are referring to are two unusual measures taken by the outgoing Socialist National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello.

One of the “tricks” referenced is Cabello’s announcement of the creation of a “National Communal Parliament” on Dec. 15, which will provide federal resources to grassroots Socialist activists nationwide and give them legislative input. The second happened in a meeting of Venezuelan Socialist National Assembly members in an extraordinary session on Dec. 23, when the party named 13 judges to the 23-member Supreme Court.

The conservative opposition called the Socialists’ actions to appoint these judges a “judicial coup.” The opposition majority comes to power on Jan. 5, and did not have the votes to stop the appointments.

In response, Maduro alleged Wednesday “criminals were buying” conservative votes, although this statement cannot be substantiated, since objective election monitors weren’t allowed into Venezuela during the election.

In previous elections, former President Jimmy Carter’s non-profit organization The Carter Center, monitored and approved Venezuela’s electoral process. But that non-profit shut down its Caracas office in August.

The conservative opposition has appealed to the United Nations, European Union, and Organization of American States in an open letter condemning the Socialist government of Maduro.

The Dec. 6th elections marked the first time in 17 years Venezuela’s Socialist government has to share power with the opposition.

When the opposition-led National Assembly comes to power in January, and if it keeps its supermajority, it has the power to do a great deal, including to free opposition leaders from prison, remove Supreme Court judges and call early presidential elections.

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