sábado, 27 de junio de 2015

Venezuelan opposition told to field more women in December polls

Venezuela's opposition coalition Table of Democratic Unity (MUD), had to begin changing its recently published list of candidates for December's parliamentary polls on 26 June, after the election authority declared lists must include an equal number of men and women. Opponents criticized the move as unconstitutional, suspect in its timing and likely designed to cause dismay among opposition voters. MUD would nevertheless adjust its lists while waiting for full details of the order to emerge, El Universal reported. One of MUD's candidates, José Manuel Olivares, said the opposition would not be deterred by the move, which he said illustrated how state institutions were subservient to the executive branch. He said that after "six months of silence," President Nicolás Maduro had most probably "phoned" the head of the state electoral agency Tibisay Lucena, to tell her to announce the decision, a day after MUD publicized its initial list. "If they think this will destabilize the democratic alternative, I have to say they are quite mistaken," MUD's website reported him as saying in Caracas. It appeared that in spite of the president's order, Venezuelan election laws did not require gender equality in election lists. The requirement was dropped in 2000 - with women being required to constitute no less than 30 per cent of lists - though electoral bodies had since urged parties to respect the principle, El Universal reported. Separately, President Maduro vowed on his Twitter account on 27 June that "at least half" the socialist list would consist of young people. He was separately reported as qualifying the opposition list as "dinosaur candidacies."