The Electoral branch of Venezuela's Supreme Court (TSJ) has annulled the opposition's Oct. 22 primaries whereby María Corina Machado had been chosen to take on President Nicolás Maduro in the 2024 elections. The Court argued that Machado had been disenfranchised for 15 years in addition to fraud allegations affecting the process, it was reported in Caracas.
All the effects of the different phases of the electoral process conducted by the national commission of primaries are suspended, read the sentence regarding a process that had a surprising turnout of 2.4 million people and a sweeping victory for Machado, who got 92% of the votes.
The Court, known to be aligned with Maduro's government, had accepted a writ of injunction filed by lawmaker José Brito, who is deemed to be a collaborationist, against the unconstitutional and illegal acts of the National Primary Commission.
At the same time, prosecutor Tarek William Saab opened an investigation and summoned this Monday to testify as investigated” Jesús María Casal, president of the National Primary Commission (CNP) as well as other members of his team.
The primaries were held five days after the government and the opposition agreed to respect the primaries at a dialogue table, where it was also decided to hold the presidential elections in the second semester of 2024 with observation by the European Union and other international players.
The United States in response relieved for six months the oil embargo imposed on the country in 2019 but conditioned it to the holding of free and fair elections. But the TSJ insisted on treating Machado as a citizen firmly disqualified for 15 years since June for alleged corruption.
The TSJ also ratified the disqualifications imposed on Machado, Freddy Superlano, and Henrique Capriles.
Datanalisis Director Luis Vicente León explained that the court's decision has no negative impact on the leadership of the opposition and rather amplifies its national power and reinforces the international rejection.
Upon learning of the Court's decision, the US Government warned that it would take action if Maduro and his proxies failed to comply with their electoral roadmap commitments. We urge Nicolás Maduro and his representatives to uphold the commitments they made in signing the political roadmap agreement in Barbados, said a US State Department spokesperson.
After the court's announcement, opposition leaders agreed that the sentence could not change the will of the people.