Venezuela ‘s NEC begins forming constituent assembly amid unrest

World Today

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council has begun the process of electing a constituent assembly. The move comes amid near-daily demonstrations that have resulted in dozens of deaths.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas reports.
Follow Juan Carlos Rivas Lamas on Twitter @JuanRivasLamas

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council begins electing a constituent assembly amid violent unrest

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council begins electing a constituent assembly amid violent unrest

Opposition demonstrators said Maduro’s plan would delay all elections currently scheduled in Venezuela, both gubernatorial elections, now overdue, and presidential elections, scheduled for late next year.

President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement of a plan to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution has put a wave of violent unrest in motion in a country that was already deeply divided.

The opposition has organized near-daily demonstrations since the beginning of April with people across the country taking part in marches and sit-ins, making blockades out of garbage and Molotov cocktails out of feces.

The President of the Venezuelan Parliament, Julio Borges, said Maduro’s decision is not only irresponsible, but it’s also illegal.

“The constitution that Maduro is proposing is not a real constitution. It will not be elected by the people, but by different sectors of society. Any regular citizen cannot have the right to vote in a secret, direct and universal vote,” Borges said.

Maduro appointed a presidential commission to take his plan to the people.

He would disband the current assembly, and create a new constituent assembly super body with the power to rewrite the constitution and shake up public powers.

“We are going through a tough political moment. We have exhausted all our attempts at dialogue. Now, people in Venezuela can request elections that will lead to the writing of a new constitution. That way we’ll be able to reconstruct the country, and achieve peace,” German Escarr, a member of the Presidential Commission said.

Opposition demonstrators said Maduro’s plan would delay all elections currently scheduled in Venezuela, both gubernatorial elections, now overdue, and presidential elections, scheduled for late next year.

And they said the plan is completely undemocratic, that the new assembly would only be made up of Maduro’s supporters.

President Maduro has countered many of the opposition rallies with pro-government rallies held on the same day.

He still has the support of millions of people who believe he can bring peace to the country.

For now, at least, the lines have been drawn.

Maduro insists he’s going to create a new constitution, while opposition leaders continue their demands for elections where each citizen casts his or her own vote, in secret ballot.