Tickets please...end of the line for the MUD? The political party that never was
By Misión Verdad
Translated to English by Tortilla con Sal
Monday, Jan 29, 2018
The Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) issued a sentence on Thursday January 25th ordering the National Electoral Council (CNE) to exclude the opposition United Democratic Table (MUD) from the electoral validation process scheduled for January 27th and 28th in which the opposition coalition had stated they intended to take part.
This decision by Venezuela’s highest judicial body renders inapplicable the Venezuelan opposition’s use of the so called “united electoral ticket” to participate in the presidential elections, one which supposedly represents the united political forces of anti-Chavismo in Venezuela.
The TSJ’s argument in its decision notes that the participation of the MUD in the validation’s registration process as “a group of diverse political organization some re-validated and others due to be re-validated” would violate “openly the prohibition of duplicate party membership... established in disposition number 4 of the January 5th 2016 sentence, paragraph 1 and Article 32 of the Law of Political Parties, Puublic Meetings and Demonstrations.
This judgment has been issued at a moment when the validation of the MUD united electoral ticket coincides with the registration of other opposition political parties, members of the MUD, like Democratic Action (AD) and Justice First (PJ) that did not participate in recent elections, openly boycotting them. Justice First has yet to re-register with the electoral authority.
As much for its representatives as for its voters, the ambivalence of the MUD, in fact an electoral ticket and not a political party, increases the significance of “duplicate party membership”.
Furthermore, Venezuela’s Law of Political Parties, Puublic Meetings and Demonstrations establishes that each political party must present a formal organizational structure elected by the organization’s members via the mechanisms set out in that law. This is another weakness of the MUD since, as of this moment, no one knows the make up of the organizational structure representing the MUD electoral ticket (or party in strictly formal terms) given that structure’s disintegration following the removal of its last Secretary General, Jesús Chuo Torrealba.
The MUD electoral ticket is not a legally valid political party
As of now, the MUD has only some alternating spokespeople shared between the various parties of which it is composed with no clear definition of who may be the formal representatives of the party structure of the MUD’s united electoral ticket.
In this case, given the levels of “tolerance” prevalent up until now in Venezuela’s political life, the underlying political logic starts from the need of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice and the National Electoral Council to have clear rules for Venezuela’s political actors.
In this regard, an antecedent worth noting is the suspension of the MUD united electoral ticket in Venezuela’s regional elections on October 15th last year. That electoral ticket was discounted because the MUD registered as an electoral participant in seven of the country’s states despite still facing legal challenges in those states involving accusations of fraudulent collection of signatures for the recall referendum against Nicolas Maduro in 2016.
At the time the Venezuelan courts identified plausible elements of fraud involving false signatures, identity theft and other irregularities leading to the suspension of the MUD electoral ticket in the states concerned.
Additionally, the MUD united electoral ticket, little more than a notionally representative ticket, has no real organizational structure in Venezuelan law and is only relevant as a component facilitating the MUD’s internal conflicts. The MUD’s component parties either use or abandon the MUD’s united electoral ticket depending on the twists and turns of the circumstances and interests of the small clique of individuals controlling their coalition.
That fact makes nonsense of any claim that political parties are being eliminated or criminalized in Venezuela. The MUD united electoral ticket is not a real political party but its members have indeed used that name to commit electoral fraud thus excluding it as a legitimate vehicle for achieving public office.
Original Spanish language URL
Translation by Tortilla con Sal
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