December 07, 2015

Cardin Statement on Opposition Electoral Victory in Venezuela

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement congratulating Venezuela on its recent election for the country's unicameral National Assembly. Venezuela's Electoral Council (CNE) announced and President Nicolas Maduro has recognized that the opposition (MUD) won 99 seats, the government coalition (PSUV) won 46 seats, and that 22 remained too close to call. The opposition has only won one election in the past 15 years.


"Following a campaign period characterized by intense political polarization, Venezuela’s citizens exercised their most fundamental right and unequivocally chose a path of peaceful, democratic change.  In electing a new majority to the National Assembly, Venezuelan voters have reinstated a long-absent legislative check on President Maduro’s to-date unrestrained exercise of executive power.


"The promise of new leadership in the Venezuelan National Assembly comes at a critical moment when the country is beset by a myriad of crises, including ongoing economic challenges, troubling levels of criminal violence, and ongoing detention of political prisoners.


"As Venezuela’s next National Assembly seeks to address these daunting challenges, legislators collectively must put forward an agenda that prioritizes the country’s national interests over partisan divisions.  They must champion accountability, transparency, and the restoration of the rule of law above political reprisals.


"Finally, with final results still pending for 22 legislative seats, the international community must remain committed to a free, fair, and transparent process that fully respects the intentions of Venezuelan voters."


Prior to the election, Senator Cardin spearheaded an unprecedented letter from 157 leading legislators from the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru calling on Venezuelan President Maduro to support “free, transparent, and democratic” legislative elections on December 6. Signors include: 18 United States Senators, 32 Brazilian Senators, 57 Colombian Senators, 12 Chilean Senators, 25 Costa Rican Legislative Assembly Members, and 13 Peruvian Legislative Assembly Members.



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