VENEZUELA’S national constituent assembly called a fresh election in Zulia state on Thursday after the new opposition governor refused to be sworn in.
Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mud) coalition governor-elect Juan Pablo Guanipa maintained his boycott of the assembly past Wednesday’s deadline for him to take his oath.
The assembly responded by calling a new election in the state for December. It also scheduled municipal elections for that month.
Assembly president Delcy Rodriguez predicted that the mayoral ballots would be a “victory against imperialist agents,” after her ruling United Socialist Party won in 18 of 23 states on October 15.
Assembly member for Zulia Aloha Nunez said: “All who participated in the elections accepted the rules, but this individual wanted to wreck the work done by the ANC and this cannot be allowed.”
Fellow member Hermann Escarra said: “The path to be taken is unmistakable: new elections have to be called in Zulia.”
Mr Guanipa tweeted that the calling of the new election “ignores the people” and violates the constitution, which stipulates that governors should be sworn in by regional parliaments.
Meanwhile, the Zulia state parliament elected Magdely Valbuena as acting governor. She was set to be sworn in by the assembly yesterday.
Mr Guanipa’s stance was in line with the Mud’s refusal to recognise the new assembly convened by President Nicolas Maduro in May and elected in July.
But earlier this week, four other Mud state governors-elect — all from the moderate Democratic Action (AD) party — did a U-turn and were sworn in. On Tuesday, three of them met Mr Maduro.
Underlining opposition divisions, Henrique Capriles, a leader of Mr Guanipa’s Justice First party, said on Wednesday that he was quitting the Mud in protest.