Venezuela supreme court rejects challenge to President Maduro’s re-election, derided as a sham by critics
Venezuela’s highest court refused Wednesday to consider a lawsuit challenging President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election victory in May.
The elections chamber of the Supreme Court announced its decision on Twitter, and did not give the reasoning behind it. The court is widely accused of being biased in favour of the president.
On May 20, Maduro was re-elected for a second six-year term with 68 per cent of the vote in a poll boycotted by the main opposition and derided as a sham by the US, EU and 13 other Latin American countries. More than half of the electorate abstained.
Venezuela is in the throes of a severe economic crisis.
The suit was lodged by Henri Falcon, Maduro’s main rival in the election, who called for the vote to be run again.
Among other things Falcon argued that Maduro offered cash incentives to many voters who could be tracked electronically through cards giving them access to government food aid programmes.
He also denounced the use of state media to promote Maduro’s campaign, and claimed “pressure and coercion” was used against opposition monitors in polling stations.
Falcon said polling stations in several areas remained open beyond their official closing time to allow more socialist party voters to cast ballots.
After the court decision was announced Falcon accused the tribunal of deepening the country’s political crisis. “You keep closing the door to a peaceful, electoral solution,” he wrote on Twitter.
He said he would keep pressing his case with international bodies but did not say which ones.