CARACAS.- Despite the boycott of right wing sectors and international maneuvers to refuse to recognize the democratic process that Venezuela held on Sunday, July 30, members of the National Constituent Assembly were elected with broad popular legitimacy and the mandate to return the country to the path of peace, according to Venezuelan authorities.
After hearing the first official bulletin on the results of the elections, sometime after midnight, President Nicolás Maduro offered his views on what he considered a “historic” day for Venezuela.
He stressed that the Venezuelan people have offered a lesson of courage and bravery on participating in the election, despite the threats of extreme sectors who sought to prevent them from exercising their right to vote.
Maduro emphasized that the ANC, “not only has the national constituent force, but also has the force of legitimacy, the moral strength of a people who heroically went out to vote in war conditions, to say: we want peace, tranquility.”
A HISTORIC VOTE
The Venezuelan President noted that the vote for the ANC members saw one of the biggest turnouts of the past 18 years.
According to the first official bulletin of the National Electoral Council, 8,089,320 citizens, equivalent to 41.5% of the electoral roll, cast their vote.
In comparison, in the legislative elections of 2015, the opposition right-wing coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) secured 7.7 million votes for its various candidates to the National Assembly, which continues to be in a state of contempt of the judicial branch.
In the recall referendum of 2004, 5.8 million Venezuelans voted for Chávez to remain in office, as opposed to 3.9 million who voted for his departure from power.
The biggest vote share won by the Bolivarian Revolution was Chávez’ re-election in 2012, when he secured 8.1 million votes against right-wing presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who gained just over six million.
The head of Strategy and Propaganda of the Zamora 200 Constitutional Campaign Command, Jorge Rodríguez, stressed that, with the results of the Constituent Assembly vote, Chavista sectors had recovered their historic electoral support.
OBJECTIVES OF THE ASSEMBLY
In the early hours of Monday, July 31, President Maduro outlined some of the first steps the National Constituent Assembly will take.
He noted that the main task of the assembly will be to consolidate a system to support the victims of opposition violence and ensure they get justice, as a way of eradicating such acts.
“This is a Constituent Assembly to bring order, do justice and defend peace,” Maduro stated, adding that this new phase of the Bolivarian Revolution would also encompass new tasks in the economic, political and cultural spheres; a new attitude, conduct and methods to eradicate corruption and encourage popular organization.
“Let’s close ranks so that the Assembly is the space for the national dialogue of all Venezuelans, honest people who want peace, sincere people,” he stressed.
Maduro, who will appear before the Assembly to recognize the Original Power of the people, also thanked the peoples of the world for their solidarity with the Constituent process.
Venezuelan opposition sectors refused to recognize the result of Sunday’s vote and questioned official participation figures, according to reports by EFE.
The President of the Venezuelan Parliament, Julio Borges, in an interview with private channel Globovisión, stated that Venezuela was “more divided” after the National Electoral Council’s announcement on the results of the vote, and reiterated his claim that the levels of participation cited were “not credible.”
However, Borges failed to provide any evidence to contradict the official results, which have been endorsed by international organizations.
Prensa Latina reported that the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America (CEELA) highlighted the strengthening, reliability and transparency of the Venezuelan electoral system, in a statement released in Caracas following the elections for the National Constituent Assembly.
On behalf of CEELA, Nicanor Moscoso stressed that “the robustness of the voting system is recognized by the electorate in the country, who came out to participate in these elections on a massive scale.”
The Nicaraguan government greeted the historic election day in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In a press note, the government of President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo highlighted that the vote demonstrated Venezuela’s defense of the “right to self-determination, peace and respect, of our peoples,” as reported by Nicaraguan news site 19digital.
Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales congratulated the Venezuelan people for going to the polls to elect their National Constituent Assembly. He assured that “the democratic vocation” of this South American nation guarantees the unity of the country and that “the vote is mightier than the bullet,” as news agency DPA reported.
A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry read: “We regret to note that opposition forces did not respond to the call to take part in the elections, but instead tried to hamper the elections, provoking clashes that have resulted in human losses.”
However, the United States, Spain, and various Latin American governments, refused to recognize the results of the democratic process held in Venezuela.
Among the countries in the region refusing to recognize the results are Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay and Guatemala.
An editorial published on Monday, July 31, in Mexican newspaper La Jornada pointed out that, far from contributing to a detente, intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs exacerbates the climate of confrontation and encourages increasingly violent attitudes among opposition sectors.
The editorial goes on to point out that interventionist practices demonstrate “an undeniable lack of authority” on the part of the United States and its allies in their anti-Venezuelan crusade.
The article stressed that these governments themselves can not be held up as examples of democracy, respect for human rights or strict respect for legality. “None of them would pass a cursory examination on these issues,” the paper emphasized.