Merida, April 9th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Tonight rightwing candidate Henrique Capriles said that he will not sign a National Electoral Council (CNE) document to guarantee that he would recognise the results of the 14 April presidential elections.
The document, requested by the government and written by the CNE, called ‘Commitment with Democracy’ was signed by pro-Chavez candidate Nicolas Maduro, as well three other candidates. Candidate Reina Sequera didn’t sign the document today because she wasn’t in Caracas. A similar document was signed by all candidates, including Capriles, for the 7 October presidential elections in July last year.
Instead, a representative for Capriles’ campaign, Carlos Vecchio, handed in a different document signed by Capriles, where he committed to “respect the popular will” but demanded that the interim president Nicolas Maduro “cease his abuse of the use of public resources to promote his candidature”.
In the document he also accused Maduro of “intimidating public servants” and “taking advantage of the needs of the poor… in order to bribe them with the delivery, or not, of social missions, and in that way, obtain their votes”.
He called the CNE “negligent” and warned that “we will be vigilant before…any alteration that is attempted on the electoral results”. Further he suggested that the electoral power is biased towards the government.
The move by Capriles follows weeks of opposition and private Venezuelan media attacks on the CNE, as well as a small protest in Caracas calling for “fairness and transparency” in the elections.
US Assistant Secretary of State, Roberta Jackson, also said last month that it would be “difficult” to have “open, fair and transparent elections” in Venezuela.
Maduro signed the CNE document while at a workers’ rally, saying, “I’m going to sign it in name of peace for the country, and respect for the people. This signature is worth my own life. I’ll respect the results that the people decide on 14 April. I swear it before God, I swear it before the people, and I swear it on the memory of Hugo Chavez”.
The CNE completed its auditing process today, where all aspects related to the voting act were verified. Assessors from the Central University of Venezuela, technical experts from all candidates’ campaign teams, and the electoral mission of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) were all present.
CNE president Tibisay Lucena announced that the electoral system is “safe and ironclad” and said the council had not found the irregularity denounced by the opposition serious, where a member of the governing United Socialist Party allegedly had the code to the electoral machines.
“The code is a general one, not only do the CNE technicians know it, but also over 90 contracted personnel… that is, it is not a code that implies infringement of electoral security”.
She also highlighted that participation in elections has grown progressively in Venezuela, which “is proof of the enormous credibility of the [electoral] organism”. 81% of registered voters voted last October.
46,000 voting machines are being sent to voting centres such as schools, which as of Wednesday will be closed and protected by soldiers as part of the Republic Plan. 80,000 CNE assistants have been trained to operate the machines.