MOSCOW, Russian Federation – Statements by the authorities of Germany, France and Spain on the conditions of recognizing the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of the country are the same – (that Maduro has eight days to conduct a snap election) – said the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.
[Published on: Jan 26, 2019 @ 23:20 ]
“Statements are made not only identical, but even at the same time,” the diplomat wrote on her Facebook.
She also joked that Germany, France and Spain “look like a choir.”
Earlier in the day, Paris, Madrid and Berlin announced that they were working closely with European partners on the crisis in Venezuela. These European countries expressed their willingness to recognize Guaido as interim head of state in the event that Republic President Nicolas Maduro does not announce the holding of elections within eight days. Later in the day , the United Kingdom made a similar statement .
Since her statement, London also joined onto the eight day ‘demand’ from Paris, Madrid, and Berlin.
A Matter of Constitutional Interpretation? No, just obfuscation
What is ethically and legally perplexing on multiple levels, is the premise Guaido used in his self-declaration as acting president. Guaido cites several articles of the Venezuelan constitution to support his claim to legitimacy, but the constitution actually points the opposite direction. The National Electoral Commission in Venezuela, considered clean and fair by international monitors for several decades, approved the electoral process which saw Maduro re-elected.
That is, Maduro and the government followed the constitutional requirements for an election – they were even held earlier than required, because the opposition according to the constitution has the right to determine the timing of elections. This provision is quite the opposite of ‘dictatorial’ – and indeed the Maduro led government conducted the elections when the opposition wanted. Specifically, these elections were held at the time when, according to polling, the opposition had the most support.
However, several opposition parties refused to participate – boycotting the election, while those opposition parties that did participate and whose platforms are very similar, failed to get behind a single candidate. In short, even though the opposition exercised its right to determine the timing of elections, and timed it during a period that polls indicated Maduro’s weakest support, Maduro still won.
In deciphering Guaido’s specific citation of articles 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution, we find something that under other circumstances would be simply amusing. Wherein he says that the National Assembly that he leads has the obligation to recognize if the president is unwilling or unable/unavailable to act as president, and then proceed to name the president of the National Assembly – Guaido – as acting president pending snap elections, he has interpreted this wrong on several counts. So why was 233 ?
FRN has noted numerous times that U.S plans always ‘go forward’ even if critical other pieces of the plan failed to materialize.
The only constitutional way to get Guaido or any other U.S proxy into power, failing an actual election, is if the president is permanently unavailable.
This explains the connection between the citation of Article 233 and the assassination attempt on Maduro back in August. Bear in mind that while August came after the May election that Maduro won, his inauguration wasn’t until January. This means that Guaido’s citation of article 233 to place himself as president of the republic, is incoherent. Only if the August assassination attempt had succeeded, would the president by permanently unavailable prior to his January inauguration.
Another ‘interpretation trick’ which Guaido tried to pull was the phrase ‘duly declared by the National Assembly‘ (see below). He emphasized these words in his speech, while he ‘declared’ himself president, but here too we find something entirely off-point.
An incoherent reading may leave the interpretation that the National Assembly has the right to determine if the President of the Republic has abandoned his position. It does not – it is the due obligation to declare it if he has abandoned his position; not its authority to determine that he has abandoned the position. An analogy may be to the national weather service. The national weather service has a due obligation to inform the public of a coming tsunami. The national weather service does not conjure tsunamis into existence through declaration.
Even though the attempt on Maduro failed, and he is ‘ready, able, and willing’ to serve his second term, the U.S nevertheless goes ahead with their plan, and Guaido’s script goes forward unchanged. The problem of course is that the duly elected president is just fine, and came out of the assassination attempt unscathed.
In the event that something happened to Maduro after his inauguration, then power would transfer to the vice-president, not the president of the national assembly (akin to Speaker of the House).
The language of the constitution is pretty clear.
Article 233: The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote.
When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.
When the President of the Republic becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the first four years of this constitutional term of office, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the Executive Vice-President shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.
In the cases describes above, the new President shall complete the current constitutional term of office. If the President becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the last two years of his constitutional term of office, the Executive Vice-President shall take over the Presidency of the Republic until such term is completed.