CARACAS – The Venezuelan opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) described on Monday as fraudulent the weekend’s mayoral elections, which the ruling party won and three of the four major MUD parties boycotted.
“Once again we saw the entire state apparatus abusing its power, including via the depraved use of the ‘Carnet de la Patria’ (homeland card), to subdue the will of the people in a situation of extreme need,” the MUD said in statement shortly after President Nicolas Maduro celebrated his victory in more than 300 of the 335 mayoral contests.
Some 16 million Venezuelans have enrolled in the Carnet de la Patria scheme, a parallel census established by the government, which uses it for distributing social aid and subsidized food that many Venezuelans depend on.
Maduro and the rest of the ruling party’s leadership had urged the voters to go to the polls with the Carnet de la Patria, so that they could register themselves in the posts prepared by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela in front of the polling stations.
This practice, described by some as illegal, allows the government to know who is going to vote.
“Among those who came to vote there is a significant part that did so because of government’s pressure,” the MUD’s statement said, adding that “those that use the hunger of the people through a fraudulent electoral system should not claim victory.”
According to the opposition coalition, “irregularities and low participation have marked the Dec. 10 elections.”
More than 9 million Venezuelans – around 47 percent of the electorate – went to the polls on Sunday, according to the figure from the National Electoral Council, although several opposition members branded it false on Twitter.