The election process is taking place in a context of high political tension marked by divisions among opposition parties on whether to contest or not the elections, as well as legal disputes triggered by "the state of contempt" declared over the National Assembly (Parliament) since 2017 and the impacts of the U.S. and European Union (EU) sanctions on the economy.
After the appointment of a new Board of Directors in June this year, the National Electoral Council (CNE) officially opened the electoral process to determine a new Parliament set to rule from 2021 to 2026.
On Sep. 29, CNE representatives announced the final list of applicants, noting that 14,400 candidates would run in the representation of 107 political organizations, 98 of which are from opposition sectors.
Representing an increase of 110 seats, a total of 277 lawmakers and an equal number of alternates will be elected in 87 electoral districts.
Major news: Venezuela's Supreme Court appoints new National Electoral Council (CNE) which will have the duty of organizing the parliamentary elections. Indira Alfonzo wil head the CNE (President), Rafael Simón Jiménez as VP.
The opposition has experienced fragmentation after the crisis of the Democratic Unity Table (MUD) alliance that secured a majority in the last parliamentary elections held in 2015.
An opposition group led by lawmaker Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself Venezuela's Interim President in January 2019, ruled out its participation, describing the process as an "electoral fraud".
The group demanded a political transition that included President Nicolas Maduro's resignation and the holding of an anticipated "free, fair and verifiable" presidential elections.
The so-called G-4 formed by the parties Democratic Action (AD), Justice First (PJ), Popular Will (VP), and A New Era (NT) supported initially this stance, which that reached the favorable vote of 27 organizations, among them, Radical Cause (CR), Citizens Reunion (EC), Democratic Left (ID), Venezuela's Project (PV), and Clear Counts (CC).
Grouped in the Unitary Pact for Venezuela (PUV), this sector called for a popular consultation from December 7 to 12 to boycott and ignore the elections' results.
After several agreements reached with the government at the National Dialogue for Peace established in September 2019, some sectors of the opposition confirmed their participation to gain new seats.
Rejecting the sanctions on the country, the opposition lawmaker Luis Parra announced the formation of the United Venezuela Alliance (AVU) formed by PJ, VP, and NT.
The representative of the Social-Christian Party (Copei) Jose Jonathan Patti launched the Democratic Alliance (AD) that included the citizen's movement Let's Change, Hope for the Change (EC), and Progressive March (AP).
"It has not been easy, unity is not easy but it is indispensable to be able to reach the objectives and fulfill the necessary strategies to move the country forward," EC President Javier Bertucci said.
The architecture of sanctions. Since Dec. 2014, the US has issued two laws, seven Executive Orders against Venezuela and maintains 27 licenses in force. This sanctioning structure is built by 300 measures of "punishment" to the economy, the population and the country. pic.twitter.com/I35oqoYSqX
Meanwhile, nine political forces made up the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) which defends the political program promoted by Maduro's government.
GPP electoral campaign has been aimed at "recovering" the Parliament to re-establish the legislative order, strengthening social transformations, and denouncing the destabilization campaign supported by regional governments gathered in the Lima Group.
In addition to the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the GPP includes the People's Electoral Movement (MEP), Homeland for All (PPT), the Tupamaro Organized Revolutionary Action Movement (Tupamaro), Venezuelan Popular Unity (UPV), the Organization for Authentic Renewal (ORA), the "We Are Venezuela" movement, the Alliance for Change, and We Can.
The meme reads, "Chavismo is a historical reality, it is an identity that goes beyond formal understandings...It is a way of being, the Chavista is a loyal man and woman with ideas of Homeland"
As part of pre-elections agreements, an Amnesty Law was approved allowing the release of 50 prisoners and a pardon for 60 opposition leaders who actively promoted acts of violence between 2014 and 2017.
As mandated by the Constitution in Article no. 219, the new Parliament will be installed on 5 January 2021. To date, two mock-votes have been held to examine the EC21 Voting Machines to be used in the elections.
Meanwhile, technicians and representatives of all political parties contesting the elections are allowed to observe 16 audits to monitor the process.
In total, 29,000 tables will be installed in 14,221 voting centers across the country.