[JURIST] The Venezuelan Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] Tuesday upheld [press release, in Spanish] a list blocking 272 political candidates from running for office because of suspected corruption. Critics had argued that the list [Venezuela Information Centre analysis] was unconstitutional because many of those included had not been convicted of any crime. Some also alleged that the list focused on opponents of current Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [official profile, in Spanish; BBC profile], but the court held:
[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, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 30 and 32.2 of the American Convention on Human Rights.The list was first compiled in February by Comptroller General Clodosbaldo Russian, who said that creating such a list was within his authority as comptroller [Organic Law of the Comptroller General Office, in Spanish]. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.
This requirement is fully compatible with the provisions of Articles 19 and 156, 32 cardinal of the National Constitution.
Opponents have accused Chavez of pushing increasingly autocratic reforms, including constitutional changes [JURIST report] that would eliminate presidential term limits and augment the president's emergency powers. Last year, the Venezuelan National Assembly approved [press release, in Spanish] a set of proposed amendments to the country's constitution by a 160-7 vote. The proposed amendments passed a preliminary vote [JURIST report] in the Assembly in August, and all of the constitutional reforms were subject to a two-part national referendum on December 2. Chavez said the constitutional changes were necessary to advance Venezuela's socialist revolution, but Human Rights Watch warned that they would violate international law [press release] by allowing the president to suspend due process guarantees during times of emergency. In December, election observers reported low voter turnout for the referendum [JURIST report].