The president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, said Tuesday that the signing of an agreement with the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) by which Unasur will send a mission to monitor the presidential elections of 7 October 2012, represents “a giant step for democracy in Latin America”.
Unasur’s electoral mission to Venezuela’s presidential election will take place through the organisation’s recently created Electoral Council. The agreement had been adopted in principle at the extraordinary meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the regional bloc on 11 June.
The Unasur Electoral Council is made up of four persons from each member country. Each country may choose its representatives from either among its own electoral experts and/or electoral institutions.
Once the Unasur electoral mission is accredited its members will be able to move freely throughout the country, communicate with candidates, political parties or other types of organisations and witness all technical aspects of the electoral process. This is the customary framework established by the CNE for all individuals, bodies, institutions or international delegations that have travelled to Venezuela in previous elections.
Lucena added: “Through solidarity, respect for national sovereignty and cooperation between pairs we can continue to build a vibrant and dynamic democracy for our America”. She went on to stress that Venezuela is proud to receive the first UNASUR hemispheric electoral mission.
Meanwhile, the US-based Carter Center confirmed on Tuesday that it would not be sending an electoral mission to accompany the presidential elections. Nevertheless, Jennifer McCoy, the body’s Americas director, told Telesur on Tuesday that “we maintain our interest in a more informal accompaniment, with my visits with other people, to talk to Venezuelans in order to understand their perspectives for this year’s election”.
Venezuela has had 16 electoral processes since President Hugo Chavez’s election in 1998 which have declared free and fair by international observers, however, Venezuela’s right-wing continues its campaign to discredit the CNE.
With respect to this, in an interview on 19 August, Eleazar Diza Rangel, editor of opposition newspaper Ultimas Noticias – owned by the family of opposition candidate Capriles Radonski, – said that the opposition seeks to discredit the CNE “to claim fraud at the coming presidential elections of 7 October in order not to recognise the people’s will”.
Additional comments and editing by Ewan Robertson for Venezuelanalysis.com