Caracas, November 26, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)-- A group
of more than 130 international election observers praised the organization,
fairness, and efficiency of last Sunday's regional and local elections in
Venezuela, and also gave constructive suggestions for how to reduce lines at
polling booths in the future.
The National Electoral Council of Venezuela (CNE) "has achieved credibility,
efficient and transparent processes, and as a consequence of this,
Venezuela has new legitimate authorities," said Joaquin Vives, an observer from
Colombia's CNE, during a press conference Monday evening.
The well-audited electoral machinery makes the Venezuelan electoral process "a
pioneer in the world, leading the way down the correct path," said the
Vives also expressed admiration for the electoral spirit of the Venezuelan
people. "Many things dazzled us about the process that the Venezuelan people
lived [Sunday], especially its attitude. We observed voters who were willing,
decided, patient, and in their great majority respectful and with great desire
to construct democracy in Venezuela," he said.
Greek Legislator Sofía Sakorafa, another international observer, complimented
the political independence of the CNE and the fact that it has its own law
outlining its functions.
"I consider the electoral process to be one that expresses
the will of the people and is characterized by a commitment to social and
political inclusion," said Sakorafa.
Hungarian journalist Gyula Ortutay, who observed the elections in the city of
Maracaibo, in Zulia state, emphasized the way the CNE "went to great pains to
educate the voting population about how to work the voting machines, and this
contributed largely to the success of the process."
Ortutay congratulated the CNE "for the labor it carried out to guarantee the
efficiency and transparency of the electoral process."
An observer from the United States,
Anthony Gonzalez, pointed out that the voting centers were well equipped and well
secured by the National Guard, and that by having election day on the weekend, Venezuela
facilitated working class suffrage.
Gonzalez expressed concern about long lines at voting stations, but expressed
confidence that the CNE "has the capacity to respond effectively" by opening
more voting stations in the future. He also suggested keeping more voting
machines on reserve at each center.
Costa Rican activist María Elena Salazar Alvarado said she observed the
Venezuelan electoral process to be "beautiful, participative, of which all
Latin Americans should feel proud." Salazar added that she plans to share her
experience with social movements in her country.
Salazar was "filled with emotion" upon observing the participation of
indigenous communities in the elections of the eastern Anzoategui state, where
"women and men walked with enthusiasm from far away zones. They participated
happily and expressed their satisfaction because now they are indeed taken into
account," she said.
The election observers came to Venezuela from 54 different countries in the
Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe this year. Venezuelan elections in past
years have been verified as free and fair by the Organization of American
States, the European Union and the US-based Carter Center, according to the
London Venezuelan Information Centre.