Caracas, Venezuela, December 4, 2005—Venezuela’s National Electoral Council announced that by 4pm on Saturday, when the deadline for withdrawing candidacies passed, only 10% of candidates for the National Assembly had withdrawn. That is, out 5,516 candidates, only 516 had requested the Electoral Council (CNE) to remove their names from the contest. Similarly, out of 355 parties and political organizations inscribed in the contest, only 18, or 5%, had withdrawn their candidacies from the contest.
Today, Venezuelans vote for 167 seats in the National Assembly, 12 for the Latin American parliament, and five for the Andean parliament. For the National Assembly, Venezuelans have two votes, one for a party list of candidates and one for an individual representative from their district. 40% of the National Assembly is then constituted in accordance to the percentages parties achieved in the party list vote. The other 60% are constituted by candidates who won a majority of votes in their respective districts.
Many ballots throughout the country will be unaffected by the last minute boycott of the 18 parties, explained CNE president Jorge Rodriguez yesterday. If just one candidate running on a party list does not withdraw his or her candidacy, the whole party’s candidacy remains in effect. All of the main parties that declared a boycott of the vote last week, such as AD, Copei, Proyecto Venezuela, and Primero Justicia, will remain on the ballot because less than half of their candidates withdrew their candidacies. According to Venezuelan electoral law, candidates must withdraw candidacies in person.
Rodriguez explained that if voters vote for a candidate who has withdrawn, then that vote will be counted as invalid.