Venezuela’s Maduro Calls Dry Run Vote, ‘A Hymn to Peace,’ as Voters Turn Out in Large Numbers

The dry run for the Venezuela National Constituent Assembly has received an unexpectedly high turnout.

Venezuelans are continuing to line up to take part in Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly’s dry run vote in what has been described as the largest dry run vote in 18 years.

“I have never seen a situation where opening times for a practice run of an election have to be extended,” said Hector Rodriguez, head of the Zamora constituent campaign, at a press conference.

According to Rodriguez, “grandmothers, grandpas” are still waiting in line to participate.

“Today a new machine has been born, one that will push forward a new history, a new dawn,” he added,

Thousands of people across Venezuela took part in the dry run vote Sunday, singing chants and waving signs in support of President Nicolas Maduro and the National Constituent Assembly.

See video here.

In Venezuela’s capital Caracas, voters started queuing outside practice polling centers as early as 5 a.m. to help test voting equipment and receive instructions for the upcoming July 30 official vote. Nearly 1,942 voting machines were deployed in the dry run to help voters learn how to use the machines.

Venezuelans continued to line up well into the evening to take part in the process.

“I already voted. It was wonderful, quick,” María Canela, a local of the parish of La Candelaria, told AVN, on her way out of the Andres Bello High School.

“This is a truly democratic, participatory and civic process. We are peacefully and joyfully taking part in the dry run,” she added.Some 496 polling centers were authorized in all the municipalities of the country, 55 of which functioned as pilot centers, according to CNE.

Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Council, CNE, said Sunday, said that the voting exercise was particularly important to ensure that the voters can exercise their right to vote in safe conditions.

She explained that part of the exercise was to identify those localities within the municipalities where the safety of voters could be threatened during the electoral event.

“We continue to evaluate measures that protect the lives and physical safety of voters because there have been expressions of fear about going to vote … We assure people that we will continue to look for measures so that they can out and vote peacefully on voting day,” Lucena said.

While there some reports of violence, the dry run vote was largely carried out in a festival mood.

President Maduro described the event as the “biggest and most impactful dry run of all dry runs that have taken place in the last 18 years” in a tweet Sunday.

Calling it “a hymn to peace,” Maduro said the people of Venezuela through their extensive participation in the constituent electoral process have shown that the way to solve the country’s problems is through peace.

“Compatriots, let’s give peace a chance, let’s give the constituent an opportunity. I ask that we give the opportunity to the only way we have for peace,” said the head of the state.

“The people want freedom, they have said yes to peace and no to violence, no to traitors, no to the guarimbas,” Nicolas Maduro said at a press conference.

The dry vote for the National Constituent Assembly coincided with a symbolic referendum called by the opposition which asked people to vote whether they want a constituent assembly or not; whether they want the Armed Forces to support the existing constitution and the decisions of the national assembly; and whether they want immediate general elections.

teleSUR, July 16, 2017



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