July 15 2017
Thousands of people gathered at a PSUV rally before the National Constituent Assembly vote dry run in Valencia, July 15, 2017 | Photo: PSUV
Government supporters have been rallying to promote a free, democratic and safe vote.
Venezuela is holding a nationwide dry run vote on Sunday before the election of representatives to the National Constituent Assembly.
The United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, is carrying out checks on some of the electoral machinery ahead of the ballot at the end of the month.
One of the review activities has been taking place in Valencia, Carabobo state.
Thousands of PSUV supporters gathered in the city’s bullring, along with the party’s Vice President Diosdado Cabello and Héctor Rodríguez, Commander of the Zamora Constituent Campaign 200.
Ensuring that the people exercise their democratic right to vote
During his speech to the crowd, Cabello called for the full weight of the law to be imposed on “those who walk burning people” in reference to the victims of violence during the recent opposition protests.
He also told the crowd that abstentionism would be avoided “by ensuring that the people exercise their democratic right to vote despite any adverse situation or sabotage of the right to be present.”
The National Electoral Council, CNE, is overseeing preparations for the election which is being held on July 30.
Providing instruction on voting protocol and testing election technology
The body will also provide instruction on voting protocol and test election technology at 496 polling stations before of the official poll.
“We will not allow any violent radicalism to hurt the opportunity to express ourselves as the peaceful and democratic people we are,” Tibisay Lucena, head of the CNE said.
The call for a National Constituent Assembly was made by President Nicolas Maduro on May 1 to help ease ongoing tensions with the right-wing opposition.
The body that will rewrite the country’s 1999 Constitution
The body that will rewrite the country’s 1999 Constitution will be made up of 545 members, with 364 representing regions and another 181 representing various social sectors — workers, farmers, people with disabilities, students, retirees, the business sector, communes and communal councils.
They will draft a new constitutional text which will be put to a popular vote in Venezuela.
Opposition leaders are calling for people to vote in their own plebiscite on Sunday, which the CNE regards as illegitimate and non-binding.
Julio Borges, president of the National Assembly, which is currently in contempt of the law, called for the July 16 ballot to consult Venezuelans on three questions: whether they want a constituent assembly or not; whether they want the Armed Forces to support the existing constitution and the decisions of the National Assembly; and whether they want immediate general elections.
Other opposition leaders have described the unconstitutional plebiscite as an opportunity to prepare the ground for blockading the country.