Venezuela: What you need to know about the constituent assembly elections

Protesters hold up signs that read 'Deaths No, Constituent Assembly Yes' and 'Constituent Assembly for peace'.
July 24, 2017

On July 30, 545 delegates will be elected by the Venezuelan people to a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) proposed by President Nicolas Maduro.

The ANC will discuss proposals to reform the constitution, though any official amendments will have to be put to a referendum

Of the 545 delegates, 346 will be elected on a territorial basis by universal, direct and secret vote. Each municipality will elect at least one constituent assembly member, according to the principle of majority representation.

Municipalities covering state capitals will elect two delegates, while seven delegates will be elected in the municipality of Libertador in Caracas, the capital, on the basis of proportional representation.

Voters will also be able to exercise a universal, direct and secret vote for candidates from various social sectors.

One hundred and seventy-three delegates will be elected from the following sectors: workers in the oil and mining, industrial, banking, social work, transport, construction, services and public sector; informal economy and self-employed workers; peasants and fishers; communes and communal councils; students from the public, private and social mission sector; people with disabilities; pensioners; and business owners.

Eight more delegates will be elected from indigenous peoples.

This will enable key social sectors to be represented in the ANC.

To preserve the principle of one person, one vote, no voter may vote for more than one sector.

Each voter will cast a vote for candidates in their relevant sector. For example, if a voter is a pensioner, they will vote for candidates for that sector.

Contrary to what the media and opposition have said, the ANC will not be a “closed election among Chavistas.”

Moreover, the universal, direct and secret mode of voting is preserved. While various sectors will have elected representatives — reflecting the diversity of the country’s population — territorial delegates will make up the majority of the ANC.

Nothing has been placed in the way of the opposition to stop it participating in the ANC — a constituent assembly that they themselves were demanding and collecting signatures for not long ago.

The opposition claims to represent the political and electoral majority of the country, across all municipalities and social sectors, and says Chavismo only represents 10–15% of the population.

The opposition’s refusal to participate in the ANC’s elections would seem to indicate even they do not believe this.

[Based on an earlier article published on TeleSUR English. Published in the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network July 2017 special liftout.]

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