Venezuela’s Electoral Council Denounces Campaign Abuses

The Chair of the Campaign Commission of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), Vicente Diaz, yesterday denounced that both public and private media and the campaigns of both main candidates for president have violated campaign rules. Also, according to Diaz, the broadcast media have been partial to one campaign or the other.

By Venezuelanalysis.com
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Caracas, November 30, 2006 (venezuelanalysis.com)—The Chair of the Campaign Commission of Venezuela’s National ElectoralCouncil (CNE), Vicente Diaz, yesterday denounced that both public and private mediaand the campaigns of both main candidates for president have violated campaignrules. Also, according to Diaz, the broadcast media have been partial to one campaignor the other.

Diaz presented the results of his campaign monitoringcommission and said that 47% of the campaign violations were committed by publicofficials and 53% were committed by campaigns and political parties.

According to Diaz, the violations committed by publicofficials are particularly disturbing. “One and the other side, in the heat ofthe campaign exceed a bit in compliance with the norms, but what particularlycalls attention in this campaign is that 47% of the presumed infractions arefrom public functionaries and organizations,” said Diaz.

Diaz also highlighted that both the private and public televisionchannels were strongly biased in favor of one candidate or the other. Accordingto the commission’s monitoring of the state TV channels, “there is a clear asymmetry”in favor of the reelection of President Hugo Chavez.

However, private TV channels have a clear bias in favor ofthe opposition’s “unity” candidate, Manuel Rosales. “There exists an important biasin the private mass media towards the candidacy of Rosales,” said Diaz. Diaz highlighted,though, that in contrast to the private media, the state media is financed by thetax contributions from all Venezuelans.

With regard to the CNE’s reaction to these infractions, Diazexplained that previously the CNE attempted to reduce the number of infractionsby educating the parties involved. At this stage, though, the CNE would seeksanctions. So far, over 70 case files have been opened.

Minister of CommunicationDefends State Communications

Following a meeting with CNE diorector Diaz, Communicationand Information Minister William Lara insisted that the state media have merelybeen reporting the activities of the president, in his capacity as president,not as presidential candidate.

“This [state media] coverage is aligned with the obligation thatthe national executive has to explain in detail every act of the government. Thisis why there is a special broadcast the different government activity that HugoChavez realizes in his condition as President of the Republic,” said Lara.

Campaign Ends, VotingCenters Ready

Today CNE Director Vicente Diaz reminded the public and thecampaigns that no more campaigning is allowed as of tomorrow, Friday, morning, beginningat 6am. After that point in time no more campaign rallies or politicaladvertising will be allowed. Also, the media are no longer permitted topublicize opinion polls.

CNE President Tibisay Lucena announced today, in the presenceof the country’s military high command, that everything is ready for Sunday’svote. As of 8am on Friday all of the voting centers will have been installedand those citizens drafted for voting center service are required to be at thecenters on Friday to help prepare for the voting process.

Defense Minister Raul Isaias Baduel assured that thegovernment’s intelligence apparatus is operating overtime, in order to detectany kind of irregularity before it happens. All voting centers are beingguarded by National Guard troops, under the so-called “Plan Republica,” which iscalled into operation during elections and other situations in which thesecurity of state installations must be assured.

Voting centers will open at 6am on Sunday and close at 4pm,if no one is still waiting in line to vote. In past elections many votingcenters opened late and the voting hours ended up being extended accordingly.

The purchase of liquor is prohibited for 24 hours,beginning on Saturday evening, until Sunday evening.

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