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Doubts Persist over Opposition Acceptance of Venezuela’s Presidential Election Result

Mérida, 5th September 2012 ( – Doubts persist over whether the opposition will accept the official result of Sunday’s presidential vote, after opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup stated “if you, Mr President [Hugo Chavez], win by one vote, no one is going to believe it”.

Ramos Allup, who is the general secretary of the Democratic Action (AD) party and the party’s top representative to the opposition’s Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition, made the comments at an MUD event on Wednesday to promote the opposition’s presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski.

Referring to Sunday’s presidential contest, when Capriles will stand against incumbent Hugo Chavez, Ramos declared “watch out, Mr. President: if Henrique Capriles wins by one vote, just one little vote, the whole world will believe it. But if you, Mr. President, win by one vote, no one is going to believe it”.

Ramos Allup later clarified his comments and referred to what he claimed was a “shameless advantage” held by Chavez in his re-election effort, due to being the incumbent, which would mean in Ramos’ opinion a one-vote victory for the president would not be treated credibly.

The comments fuel fears that the Venezuelan opposition may not recognise the election result announced by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) in the event of a Chavez victory.

Last week, MUD executive secretary Ramón Guillermo Aveledo made ambiguous comments to press when he only committed to recognise results that the opposition umbrella organisation considered as “trustworthy”. Also, leaflets originating from the opposition have urged people to take to the streets after voting to combat a possible “fraud” by a “deceitful and criminal government”.

However, MUD representatives have reportedly assured the head of the Unasur (Union of South American Nations) electoral accompaniment mission, Carlos Alvarez, that they would recognise Sunday’s result. Alvarez met with leading MUD figures, Leopoldo Lopez and Julio Borges, yesterday.

Speaking to press today, Alvarez said that Lopez had “ratified his trust in the electoral system” and said that the MUD leaders had also shown themselves willing to sign a document with other political organisations and the CNE committing them to recognise the results.

International organisations such as the Unasur and the US Carter Centre have confirmed the clean and transparent nature of Venezuela’s electoral system, with former US President Carter describing it as “the best in the world”.

Meanwhile, Capriles Radonski has continued to state he is confident of victory in the presidential election, despite trailing socialist candidate Hugo Chavez by 10% or more in almost all major Venezuelan polls.

In one of his final rallies of the election campaign, he told supporters in the western state of Apure yesterday that “God is who removes and appoints leaders. God is going to talk through you, all of those who are here…because you want something better. I believe we are going to win [the election] throughout Venezuela”.

Chavez, who has repeatedly stated his commitment to recognise the result announced by the CNE, appealed to opposition supporters yesterday to accept Sunday’s result.

Speaking in an interview with state channel VTV, he addressed opposition supporters, saying, “Vote for who you want, for your own reasons, but just prepare yourself because your choice is going to fail, it is going to lose; but you are not going to lose, you’re going to win, although you don’t accept it, although you don’t understand it very well”.

He continued, “You’re going to win peace, you’re going to win a future, your children are going to win”.

Campaigning is now officially over, and a ban on alcohol sales begins 6pm today and will be in place until 6pm on Monday. The CNE has also reported that from 8am this morning voting tables are being installed in voting centres across the country ahead of election day.


Published on Oct 5th 2012 at 7.32pm