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  • Jesus Torrealba, head of the Venezuelan opposition coalition, said they would not sign a pledge, proposed by UNASUR, to recognize the upcoming election results.

    Jesus Torrealba, head of the Venezuelan opposition coalition, said they would not sign a pledge, proposed by UNASUR, to recognize the upcoming election results. | Photo: AVN

Published 24 November 2015

The refusal of the political opposition in Venezuela to agree to recognize the results is leading to concern that the opposition may resort to violence.

Opposition Venezuelan politicians once again refused to sign a pledge to recognize the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The Union of South American Nations, known as UNASUR, which is accompanying the election, proposed a document both to the ruling government coalition, known as the Great Patriotic Pole and the opposition, calling on all political forces to respect the outcome, regardless of its result.

The Venezuelan opposition coalition, known as the MUD, declined to sign a document, marking the second such rejection. 

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“We will not sign a blank check for anyone,” said Jesus Torrealba, secretary for the opposition coalition.

The MUD previously refused to sign a similar pledge proposed by Venezuela's electoral authority.

In October, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro affirmed that the Great Patriotic Pole would recognize the results

“My signature here isn’t my own, it is on behalf of millions of men and women who want peace,” said President Maduro upon signing the pledge in October.

Violence led by disgruntled opposition activists broke out after the 2013 presidential election, which saw Maduro elected to the presidency. His opponent, Henrique Capriles, refused to recognize the results, alleging fraud. 

Capriles instructed his supporters to “unleash their rage” at the election results, leading to the death of 11 government supporters.

Venezuela's electoral authority conducted a thorough investigation and found that no fraud had taken place, having audited more than half of all ballots cast.

Both domestic and international observers fear a repeat of violence. The refusal of the MUD to agree to recognize the results is leading to concern that the opposition may once again cry fraud.

The post-election violence was followed by months of further violence by the opposition in 2014, which sought the ouster of the government. Those violent protests saw 43 people killed, mostly government supporters. 

Jorge Rodriguez, a leading figure within the Great Patriotic Pole, indicated last week that they would sign UNASUR's pledge. 

On Dec. 6 more than 19 million Venezuelans will vote in parliamentary elections to choose 167 legislators.

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