Venezuelan Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality Of Candidate Blacklist

Author:Mr M. Millett
Profession:Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP

The Venezuelan Supreme Court recently upheld the

constitutionality of blocking 272 mostly opposition candidates

from running for office on the basis of suspicion of

corruption. The court rejected arguments that the blacklist was

unconstitutional because many of the listed candidates had

merely been accused, but not convicted, of corruption:

[T]he court concludes that the restriction of human rights is

acceptable in accordance with the laws that are given for

reasons of general interest, for the safety of other members

of society and for the common good . . . .

The list of blacklisted candidates was created by President

Hugo Chavez's Comptroller General, Clodosbaldo Russian, in

February 2008. Although ostensibly created to bar candidates

accused of involvement in corruption, the majority of the

candidates listed are aligned with political parties that

oppose President Chavez, including Leopoldo Lopez, the mayor of

a Caracas municipality. Lopez's lawyer, Enrique Sanchez

Falcon, has reportedly filed two other suits challenging the

constitutionality of the list and intends to continue the

battle to permit Lopez to run for reelection.

If upheld, the disqualification of the 272 listed candidates

from state and municipal elections will likely further

consolidate President Chavez's power over the political and

economic mechanisms in Venezuela, including regulation of the

(re)insurance market. Any further change in (re)insurance

regulation under President Chavez is unlikely to be favorable

to the nearly 100 foreign...

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