Venezuela’s opposition boycotted a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday for governors held by the all-powerful, pro-government constitutional assembly following disputed elections largely won by ruling party candidates. Eighteen new socialist governors stood, lifted one hand and pledged to uphold Venezuela’s constitution in the ceremony at the assembly’s chamber. A painting of the late President Hugo Chavez stood nearby. Notably absent were the five opposition candidates who won seats in Sunday’s regional elections. The opposition’s alliance said earlier in the day that it would boycott the session before a body they consider unconstitutional. “They will only pledge before God and their respective legislative councils,” the opposition said in a statement.
Articles about voting issues in South America.
For members of Venezuela’s opposition, the big question heading into Sunday’s elections seemed less about whether they would win than how much power they would be allowed to wield once they did. Widespread dissatisfaction with President Nicolás Maduro’s ruling party was plain to see. Violent demonstrations had taken over the streets for months, while many thousands of Venezuelans had fled the country to escape scarcities of food and medicine, rampant violence and a triple-digit inflation. Polls had predicted that opposition candidates could nearly sweep the board in Sunday’s gubernatorial races, taking as many as 18 of the nation’s 23 statehouses. Yet the result was the opposite: Candidates aligned with the president won at least 17 state races, some by wide margins. Opposition candidates took only five. They even lost in states that were considered overwhelmingly pro-opposition.
Venezuela’s opposition has called for street protests after President Nicolas Maduro’s government won a majority of governorships in a surprise result from Sunday’s regional elections. The Democratic Unity’s election campaign chief, Gerardo Blyde, demanded a complete audit of the 23 governor races and called on its candidates to lead “street activities” on Monday in protest over the results the party said it would not recognise. The ruling Socialist party took 17 governorships, while the Democratic Unity coalition took five, with results irreversible in all but one of the 23 states, said Tibisay Lucena, the electoral board president. “Chavismo is alive, in the street, and triumphant,” a beaming Maduro said in a speech to the nation, referring to the ruling movement’s name for former president Hugo Chavez.
Venezuela’s opposition refused on Monday to recognize a surprise win for the ruling socialists in a weekend regional election, potentially rekindling protests and fresh foreign sanctions on the oil-rich country’s moribund economy. Venezuela’s pro-government electoral board said President Nicolas Maduro’s candidates took 17 governorships, versus six for the opposition, in Sunday’s poll with turnout of more than 61 percent. The socialists’ strong showing was unexpected after devastating food shortages and salary-destroying inflation fueled anger at Maduro. Polls had suggested the opposition would easily win a majority, with one survey giving them 44.7 percent of voter intentions against 21.1 percent for the government. Dismayed opposition leaders decried irregularities, called for street action on Monday and demanded a full audit, but did not immediately offer any evidence of fraud.
Venezuelans vote Sunday in state elections seen as a test of President Nicolás Maduro’s willingness to share power. But with polls showing the ruling socialists at risk of landslide losses, the authoritarian government appears to be falling back on a trifecta of tactics. Manipulation, confusion and fear. Two and a half months after the creation of a super-congress that gave the government nearly absolute power, Maduro has called the vote for state governors clear evidence that democracy remains alive here. But opposition leaders see a dirty campaign by the Venezuelan government, which President Trump has denounced as a “socialist dictatorship.” State media is airing almost round-the-clock supportive coverage of pro-government candidates, while portraying their challengers as hypocritical and inept. All candidates, meanwhile, are being limited to four minutes of political ads per day on independent networks that now survive by self-censoring.
Brazil’s scandal-plagued political class voted on Wednesday to set up a 1.7 billion reais ($542 million) fund with taxpayer money to finance election campaigns, making up for a dearth of private funding ahead of next year’s general election. A ban on corporate donations coupled with the drying up of under-the-table contributions and kickbacks in the wake of the country’s biggest corruption scandal have left lawmakers struggling to raise campaign funding. The lower house of Congress approved a bill that had passed the Senate and will take funds from pork barrel appropriations and government payments to buy TV and radio time for parties.
Brazil’s Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and the Brazilian Computer Society (SBC) have signed a cooperation agreement to apply best practices to the technology supporting voting processes in the country. According to the TSE, the involvement of the Brazilian Computer Society aims at “establishing means of integration, research and improvement of computing” at the electoral tribunal. … Flaws found in the Brazilian electronic voting system in the general election of 2014 pointed to the possibility of fraud. At the time, two of the top computer science universities in Brazil suggested that it is possible to easily break the secrecy of the machines and unscramble the order of votes recorded by the devices.
Venezuela’s opposition is shifting its focus to forthcoming state elections as protests aimed at ousting President Nicolas Maduro have subsided following the installation of an all-powerful, pro-government legislative body. Four months of violent demonstrations in which at least 125 people were killed have all but stopped due to fatigue among protesters and disillusionment at seeing the ruling Socialist Party cement vast powers despite the concerted opposition push. Most opposition leaders say October’s elections for governors in all the country’s 23 states now represent the best means to keep pressuring Maduro, providing a chance to win some of the governorships at stake and an opportunity for a protest vote to demonstrate the president’s unpopularity.
The Venezuelan government reported false turnout figures for its contentious election over the weekend, announcing a tally that had been altered by at least one million votes, a software company involved in setting up voting systems for the country said on Wednesday. “We know, without any doubt, that the turnout of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated,” the company, Smartmatic, said in a statement. The vote was part of an ambitious plan by the government to consolidate power. President Nicolás Maduro instructed Venezuelans to select from a list of trusted allies of the governing party — including his wife — who will rewrite the nation’s Constitution and rule Venezuela with virtually unlimited authority until they finish their work.
Venezuela: Election results ‘manipulated’ by at least 1 million votes, polling company says | The Washington Post
Election results decried by government opponents as a brazen power grab were manipulated by at least 1 million votes, the company that provided Venezuela with its voting system said Wednesday. Antonio Mugica, chief executive of London-based Smartmatic, which has provided technology for Venezuelan elections since 2004, said it detected an inflated turnout figure Sunday through the nation’s automated balloting system. “With the deepest regret, we have to say that the turnout data presented on Sunday, July 30 for the constituent election was manipulated,” Mugica said at a news conference in London. His company’s analysis of the data, Mugica said, suggested an inflated number of “at least 1 million” — a potentially important difference that would allow the government to claim a higher turnout than an opposition-held unofficial ballot last month.