CARACAS – The Venezuelan opposition refused to accept Monday the results of Sunday’s election for the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) and ridiculed the figures of voter participation announced by the government.
The speaker of the National Assembly legislature, Julio Borges, said in an interview Monday on the private Globovision channel that Venezuela started the day “more divided than ever” following the results announced by the National Electoral Council (CNE), adding that the voter turnout figure “is not believable.”
According to the CNE, a total of 8,089,230 Venezuelans voted, while anti-Chavista groups that boycotted the elections estimated participation at a mere 3 million.
“If this weren’t such a tragedy, if 16 people hadn’t been killed and if this didn’t lead to an even worse crisis, the number announced would almost make you laugh,” said Freddy Guevara, deputy speaker of the National Assembly and head of the Voluntad Popular (VP) party.
The number of deaths during the elections mentioned by the lawmaker was the same as reported by the MUD opposition coalition, while the Attorney General’s Office confirmed 10 fatalities.
Meanwhile, opposition legislator Simon Calzadilla said Monday that his wife and two daughters were released from the jail where they were locked up Sunday by troops of the army command guarding the Constituent Assembly elections.
The lawmaker’s wife and daughters were seized by soldiers operating within the Plan Republica to protect an electoral process taking place amid widespread opposition protests.
Both Borges of the Primero Justicia (PJ) party and Guevara called on Venezuelans to continue protesting in the streets against the Nicolas Maduro government, as they have since last April 1, during which time 119 people have died, hundreds have been wounded and almost 5,000 detained.
The MUD urged its followers around the country to barricade streets starting at noon Monday as a sign they reject the Constituent election, and announced a march in Caracas from the east side of the city at 5:00 pm.
The new Constituent Assembly will have unlimited power to write a new constitution, change the judicial system and reform all institutions necessary.
After hearing the results, Maduro, the chief promoter of this process, warned that strict measures will be taken against the National Assembly with its opposition majority, the Attorney General’s Office, opposition leaders and private media.
Elsewhere, among Venezuelans who feel they can no longer live in their country, the group called Persecuted Venezuelan Politicians in Exile (Veppex) also rejected the “fraudulent” election of the new Constituent Assembly imposed by the Nicolas Maduro regime.
In a statement released Monday, the Miami-based Veppex said these were “illegitimate elections rejected by 90 percent of Venezuelans” that clearly show the “dictatorial, murderous” character of a regime “that has lost all legitimacy.”