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TSE requests Venezuela's suspension from regional electoral bodies

Concerned at the current crisis in Venezuela, marked by serious allegations of manipulation during the elections held on July 30, the president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Justice Gilmar Mendes, sent a letter last Friday (4) to the Secretariat of the Association of Electoral Bodies of South America (Quito Protocol) and the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations (UNIORE) requesting the suspension of the Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE) of both organizations.

"The facts are well known. Venezuela is undergoing a long process of reduction of its democratic space, including the suspension of constitutionally scheduled elections, political imprisonments, repression of peaceful demonstrations, and other human rights violations", said Justice Mendes.

According to the president of TSE, in face of all these facts, there is no doubt that the CNE has lost its independence and its ability to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. "It stopped being an institutional guarantee of democracy to become the guarantor of the maintenance of a group in power, in violation of popular sovereignty and the rule of law", said Justice Gilmar Mendes in the letter.

The suspension mechanism for loss of independence of the electoral body is provided in Article 11 of the Protocol of Quito: "The Association reserves the right not to invite any of its members for meetings or conferences when the appointment or integration or autonomy of them is compromised as a result of the rupture of the institutional order in their country".

In case of suspension, Venezuela will no longer be able to participate in the meetings nor receive cooperation from the electoral bodies of South America and UNIORE. It will also be an international recognition that its National Electoral Council does not follow minimum standards of independence and impartiality.