Venezuela’s opposition warns of ‘judicial coup’ and turns to UN for help

With hours to go before the close of 2015, Venezuela’s majority opposition, which earlier this month trounced the ruling party in the legislative elections, is warning the international community that President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government is plotting a “judicial coup” to partially reverse the Dec. 6 election results and deny the opposition control of congress.

Jesús Chúo Torrealba, head of the MUD opposition coalition, wrote a letter today to the UN, the EU, the Organization of American States and other regional bodies warning that Maduro’s ruling socialist party is trying to use its influence over Venezuela’s court system to strip nine elected opposition lawmakers of their seats in next year’s congress, reducing their number of votes from 112 to 103. That would deny MUD its supermajority control over congress, preventing the opposition from legislating unilaterally or attempting to remove the president from office.

Maduro, after originally recognizing defeat in the Dec. 6 elections, has since challenged the results, accusing the opposition of vote-buying. The ruling socialist party made its protest official this week by filing legal challenges in courts stacked with their own judges.

Torrealba warns that the government’s actions are “pushing the country toward the brink of disaster” by jeopardizing “the peaceful path that Venezuelans have chosen to resolve the country’s serious political, economic and social problems.”

“That would have serious consequences for the whole region,” Torrealba warned in his letter addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The letter concludes by asking the UN to take urgent action to help safeguard Venezuelan democracy and its citizens’ desire for peaceful change, as demonstrated by the landslide electoral victory.

President Maduro, meanwhile, is trying to create a parallel government “of the people” and has convoked a “Great Congress of the People” to meet in early January to celebrate the “rebirth” of the revolution, right around the time the new constitutional congress gets sworn into office.

New Year’s Eve in Venezuela could be tame compared to the fireworks coming in January.