Venezuela's chief judicial body was due to swear in 112 new opposition legislatorson 5 January, following the legislative elections held throughout the country in December. However, the court has officially suspended the swearing in of four of the 112, following a series of official requests submitted by candidates from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) that call for investigation into potential voting irregularities in several states. While the court ruled against petitions for injunctions in Yaracuy, Aragua and the indigenous representative elected for the country's southern zone, it has upheld the injunction for the south-eastern state of Amazonas requested by PSVU's Nicia Maldonado.
The decision is significant, as the right-wing Democratic Unity coalition (MUD), currently in opposition, will now fall temporarily short of the 112 legislators required to form a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly. Such a majority would have allowed the MUD to make sweeping legislative changes and challenge PSVU leader and current Venezuelan president Nicolas Madura. That agenda must now sit on the back burner until the TSJ makes an official ruling on the Amazonas election result. If the court concludes that the state's election results are fraudulent, the National Electoral Council will be obliged to conduct a state-level rerun.
The 2015 election marked the first time that the MUD has beaten the PSVU in the National Assembly since 1999. However, several irregularities became apparent in the immediate aftermath of the election result. Reports of fraud and vote buying emerged from around the country, particularly in Amazonas. There was also a larger than usual number of blank votes recorded.
A statement from the MUD has slammed the TSJ's decision to uphold the injunction: 'The unbelievable decision of the Supreme Court, which leaves the entire state of Amazonas without parliamentary representation, is a deceleration of rebellion of the defeated bureaucracy against the legitimate decision of the people.' Source: venezuelanalysis.com