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Venezuela's Fourth Week of Post Election Controversy: Assembly Deal Reached

Merida, May 8th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – After last week’s violent national assembly brawl, the opposition and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) have reached an agreement. However, the opposition has brought another appeal to the Supreme Court over the election results and is still abstaining from the auditing process that it demanded.

Assembly deal

Following a violent brawl last week between opposition and PSUV legislators, representatives of both sides met yesterday to form agreements in order to be able to resume ordinary assembly sessions.

The brawl happened as opposition legislators used air horns in the assembly after the chair refused to let anyone who didn’t recognise President Nicolas Maduro speak. Opposition media blamed PSUV legislators for the violence, while PSUV representatives argued that the opposition had planned it.

In yesterday’s meeting both sides agreed to reject violence, to respect the assembly’s operational standards, to recognise the country’s democratic institutions, and to continue the investigations into the post electoral violence which left 9 people dead and at least 78 injured.

According to PSUV legislator Tania Diaz, who was present at the meetings, the approval of the four points was unanimous.

Opposition legislator Julio Borges, who was injured in the assembly brawl and is seen as one of the main opposition representatives behind their strategy of not recognising the election results and other state institutions, agreed with the need for dialogue.

“You can’t let yourself be brought to your knees with exam questions about if you recognise the president or not, or if you believe in god or not, the constitution says that the legislators owe it to their electors,” Borges said to Venevision.

Opposition’s second appeal of election results

Yesterday Ramon Aveledo, the executive secretary of the opposition umbrella group, the MUD, told press that the group had presented an appeal of the elections to the Supreme Court. The appeal is independent of the challenge of the elections made by Capriles on 2 May.

According to Aveledo, this new appeal, rather than challenging the overall election result and the campaign leading up to it as Capriles has done, instead is based on a selection of the day's electoral records. Aveledo said that as a result of his court action, 2,320,490 votes are susceptible to being annulled.

He said the opposition was aiming to “exhaust” all legal methods at the national level, and if they weren’t “successful”, would then take the case to international organisations, starting with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Venezuela withdrew from the IACHR last year, with former president Hugo Chavez stating that it was “politically biased”.

The Supreme Court, according to Aveledo, should request the voting books from the CNE, and then pronounce a sentence within three months.

Avelado also commented on Maduro’s current tour of some South American countries, where he is strengthening bilateral agreements. He accused Maduro of “seeking legitimacy” and being “excessively generous with the cheque book”.

Meanwhile, opposition mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, recently travelled to Miami to meet with the mayor of Doral, Luigi Boria, who is allegedly linked to the CIA, according to Caracas city councillor Alexander Nebreda.

Further, while the opposition has gone to the high court over the election outcome, PSUV members of the Miranda state legislative council have also gone to the high court to demand that Capriles fulfil his role as governor of that state.

After the presidential elections Capriles confirmed he would resume his role as governor, but according to the state legislative members, so far he hasn’t. The legislators hope the court will clarify their doubts and explain the procedure for declaring an absolute absence of the governor.

The head of the Miranda state legislative council, Aurora Morales said that the state government had been absent recently when a river flooded, affecting residential areas, and that the national government had had to “invest money in channelling the river”.

Auditing continues

Meanwhile, the auditing process that the opposition requested of the CNE has been going for two days now. PSUV technician Jose Villarroel said that so far there is a 98.98% accuracy between the machine print-outs and the scrutiny minutes. He said the 1% inaccuracy was due to bad print-outs, where some voters took the print-out of their electronic vote while it was coming out and before it had finished printing.

Another possibility is that the voter commits the crime of somehow destroying the print-out of the vote, Villarroel said. However, he explained that the vote still counts, as it is electronic and automated.

He said that on Monday the technical team checked 348 voting booths, and yesterday 346. The whole process is expected to take thirty days.

All parties who participated in the elections have the right to have technicians present, however so far the opposition has refused to send anyone. The PSUV has 15 technicians present, and two of the parties supporting minor candidates Reina Sequera and Eusebio Mendez also have a total of 9 technicians present.

Published on May 8th 2013 at 8.18pm