Venezuela: Opposition awaits final count but claims a convincing election win | Examiner Times

Hours after polls closed, several opposition leaders took to the Internet to announce that their sources showed they had won a majority of seats in the National Assembly for the first time since 1998. The ruling Socialist party and its allies won 55 seats. “I can say today that the economic war has triumphed”, said Maduro, who was surrounded by top socialist leaders in the presidential palace as he mostly pulled phrases from the stump speech he had been delivering before the election. Fireworks were set off in celebration in pro-opposition districts of Caracas when the results were announced, while government supporters dismantled planned victory parties. In the plaza in affluent eastern Caracas that was the epicenter of this past year’s bloody anti-government demonstrations, a tiny group of adversaries, a number of them sipping on champagne, burned red shirts which are the ground-breaking dress that is obligatory.

Press Release: Electronic Voting Plays Crucial Role in Venezuelan Elections | Smartmatic

Following Venezuela’s recent elections, Smartmatic announced today that its secure automated voting platform guaranteed the flawless results of the nation’s Parliamentary vote. The London-based voting technology provider has serviced Venezuela’s last 14 national elections.

“For more than a decade, Smartmatic has proudly serviced the national elections for the people of Venezuela, demonstrating our commitment to transparency, efficiency and accountability,” said Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica. “And this year was no different proving once again that all sides of the political spectrum can be both winners and losers.

“Amid a polarized political landscape, our technology was able to help deliver results accepted by all parties. The winner is and has always been the will of the people,” he added.

Smartmatic provided an end-to-end voting platform during the Dec. 6 vote including its voter biometrics authentication, voting, results transmission, tallying and results broadcasting.

Venezuela: Long mighty, ‘Chavismo’ at risk in Venezuela’s election | Reuters

Polarized Venezuela heads to the polls this weekend with a punishing recession forecast to rock the ruling Socialists and propel an optimistic opposition to its first legislative majority in 16 years. Founded by the late Hugo Chavez, the Socialists’ long mighty “Chavismo” movement is facing public ire over shortages of goods from medicines to milk and the world’s worst inflation under his successor, President Nicolas Maduro. Defeat for “Chavismo” at Sunday’s vote would give the opposition a major platform to combat Maduro and deal a further blow to Latin America’s left after Argentina swung to the right in last month’s presidential election won by Mauricio Macri. If the opposition coalition wins a majority in Venezuela’s 167-seat National Assembly, it hopes to reduce the Socialists’ hegemony and tackle what it deems mismanagement, corruption and authoritarianism during their nearly 17-year rule.

Venezuela: President hints he will not accept defeat in mid-term election | Irish Times

Venezuela’s president has hinted that he will not accept the result of crucial mid-term elections being held on Sunday should his Chavista movement loses its majority in congress. Speaking to candidates from his ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, Nicolás Maduro warned: “I know we are going to triumph. But if something negative comes to pass I will go to the street to fight with the people, as I have always done, and the revolution will enter another stage.” Venezuela’s government has been using increasingly inflammatory rhetoric as the vote approaches in response to opinion polls showing that for the first time since former president Hugo Chávez came to power 17 years ago, his populist left-wing movement is set to lose control over the 167-seat national assembly.

Venezuela: Opposition says shots fired at election campaign caravan | Reuters

Venezuela’s opposition said on Sunday shots were fired at one of its candidates’ campaign caravan in a poor neighborhood of Caracas amid rising national tensions over next month’s parliamentary election. President Nicolas Maduro has said the Dec. 6 vote for a new National Assembly is the toughest election the ruling socialists have faced in their nearly 17-year government and polls show widespread voter anger at Venezuela’s economic crisis. The opposition Democratic Unity coalition believes the poll could mark the beginning of the end for “Chavismo,” as the ruling movement is known for its founder Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela: Election board raps small party for ‘confusing’ voters | Reuters

Venezuela’s election board on Thursday banned advertisements by a small political party whose slogans mimic the main opposition coalition in what critics say is part of a campaign by the government to tilt next month’s parliamentary election. President Nicolas Maduro has said the Dec. 6 vote for a new National Assembly is the toughest the socialists have faced in their 17-year rule. The opposition believes the poll may mark the beginning of the end for the governing “Chavismo” movement. Controversy has swirled for weeks around the MIN Unity party, whose name, symbols and slogans are similar to the opposition coalition Democratic Unity, which says it is an obvious attempt to confuse voters.

Venezuela: Could anger over violence, shortages shift political tide? | CSMonitor

On a recent Sunday, volunteers were sitting under a red tarp in the capital’s shopping district burning up the phones – cajoling people to abandon their weekend plans and come out to “vote.” That there was nothing to vote for – that this was simply a drill, five weeks before the Dec. 6 legislative election – was one more sign about how much the ruling party has riding on the ballot. For the first time in more than a decade, all major polls show that the opposition is running far ahead in next month’s legislative races. Sixteen years of socialist rule, first by the late Hugo Chavez and now his successor Nicolas Maduro, have left the nation weary.

Venezuela: OAS chief slams Venezuela over election observation | Reuters

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday severely criticized the head of Venezuela’s electoral board in a harshly-worded letter saying authorities were failing to ensure fair elections in December. The OAS’ Luis Almagro wrote a 19-page letter to Tibisay Lucena, who heads Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), urging her to level the playing field between the Socialist Party and opposition. “There are reasons to believe that the conditions in which people will vote … aren’t right now as transparent and just as the (electoral council) ought to guarantee,” wrote Almagro. He was responding to a letter from Lucena which was not made public. The CNE did not respond to a request for comment.

Venezuela: Ex-President Carter shuts down electoral office in Venezuela | Associated Press

A pro-democracy foundation run by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has shut down its 13-year-old electoral observation office in Venezuela as the South American country gears up for closely watched legislative elections. In a monthly report on Venezuela’s political outlook published Wednesday, the Carter Center said it closed its Caracas office May 31 to concentrate its limited resources in other countries that have solicited its help. It said it would continue to monitor events from the center’s headquarters in Atlanta. The Carter Center has been a frequent observer of elections in Venezuela and it mediated talks between the socialist government and opposition following a 2002 coup that briefly unseated then President Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela: Date set for elections after mounting pressure | Associated Press

Venezuela will hold legislative elections Dec. 6, election officials announced Monday after months of mounting pressure from local opposition groups and international observers. The South American country’s laws mandate that National Assembly balloting be held this year, but elections officials had delayed setting a date, raising concerns the contest would be canceled. In her announcement, elections council head Tibisay Lucena said the organization had always intended to set a date and was not reacting to public pressure. “These attacks and phony analyses from national experts and international figures have mostly been very ignorant,” she said. The date is timed to commemorate the first election of the late President Hugo Chavez, who launched the country’s socialist revolution when voters chose him overwhelmingly on Dec. 6, 1998.

Venezuela: Behind bars, on the ballot; ex-mayor wins Venezuela primary | Associated Press

Daniel Ceballos may be in jail, but he’s also on the ballot for Venezuela’s legislative elections. The former San Cristobal mayor is among winners of Sunday’s opposition coalition primary, in which voters chose 42 of the 167 candidates who will compete against the governing socialist party. Ceballos was arrested last year for refusing to help the national government put down a wave of street protests fed in part by anger over crime, inflation and shortages. In a quirk of Venezuelan law, a win in the general election could spring the 31-year-old from military prison because legislators receive immunity from prosecution during their terms.

Venezuela: Split results in Venezuela mayoral elections | Associated Press

Pro-government candidates and opponents of President Nicolas Maduro split Venezuela’s disputed mayoral elections Sunday, prolonging a political stalemate in the face of mounting economic problems. Members of Maduro’s socialist party were declared victors by the National Electoral Council in 196 of 335 municipalities up for grabs, while the opposition took 53 and independent candidate won eight races. The remaining 78 contests were too close to call. The opposition, which won 46 municipalities in the 2008 elections, held control of the country’s two biggest cities, Caracas and Maracaibo, and took at least four state capitals currently in the hands of government supporters, including Barinas, the hometown of the late President Hugo Chavez. But opposition forces failed to capitalize on discontent with galloping inflation and worsening shortages to win the much-watched national total vote and achieve its goal of punishing Maduro in his first electoral test since he defeated opposition leader Henrique Capriles for the presidency by a razor-thin margin in April.

Venezuela: White House dodges request urging Venezuelan government to hold recount of April election

Just like he did with the petition to deport CNN host Piers Morgan in December, President Obama has dodged calls by Americans to urge the South American country of Venezuela to hold a recount on its April 14 election. The petition, which was posted on the Administration’s “We the People” page on April 15, asks the Administration to refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the new Venezuelan government until there is a recount of the previous day’s vote. The election was held just a month after longtime leader Hugo Chavez passed away from cancer.

Venezuela: Electoral Council’s Election Audit Backs Outcome | Associated Press

Venezuela’s Electoral Council has completed an audit of results from April’s bitterly contested presidential election, and as expected it confirmed Nicolas Maduro’s 1.5 percentage-point victory. No government official appeared publicly to comment on the outcome, but an official at the council confirmed on Sunday a report by the state-run AVN news agency that the audit supported the official vote count. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to divulge the information. The opposition has complained that the council ignored its demand for a full recount. That would have included not just comparing votes electronically registered by machines with the paper ballot receipts they emitted, but also comparing those with the poll station registries that contain voter signatures and with digitally recorded fingerprints.

Venezuela: White House Petition Site Draws Venezuelan Crowds |

The petition website designed to give citizens “a direct line to the White House on the issues and concerns that matter most” is proving popular outside the U.S. as well. An April 15 We the People petition asking the Obama administration to urge a recount in the Venezuelan presidential election skyrocketed to nearly 100,000 signatures in just two days online, making it one of the fastest growing petitions ever posted to the 19-month-old White House website. The petition has now received 124,000 signatures and is the second most popular unanswered petition on We the People. It was filed the day after Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez, narrowly defeated challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski to win the South American nation’s top office. Capriles has challenged the result, citing voting irregularities.

Venezuela: Opposition to Take Voter-Fraud Case to Supreme Court | Wall Street Journal

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who says recent presidential elections won by the ruling Socialist Party were marred by fraud and voter intimidation, demanded Monday that new elections be called, and said he would take his case to the Supreme Court. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Capriles acknowledged that arguing before the Supreme Court will be an uphill battle given its justices support the ruling party, but said it’s a necessary, final “local” step before he presents his case to international tribunals. “I have no doubt this will have to end up in international courts,” he said.

Venezuela: Presidential election vote recount begins | Xinhua

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) Monday began a partial recount of votes cast in the contested April 14 presidential elections, which saw Nicolas Maduro win by a razor-thin margin, local media reported. The auditing process, which is being boycotted by the opposition, calls for a technical board to inspect 12,000 ballot boxes in 30 days, as approved last Friday by Venezuela’s electoral authorities. In the next few days, auditors are to be selected and trained for the review of a random selection of 46 percent of ballot boxes that were not already audited on election day.

Venezuela: The Roots of Venezuela’s Recount | The National Interest

After fourteen years of Hugo Chávez’s personalist leadership, Venezuelans took their first steps into a brave new world of political contestation on April 14 when they elected a president to fulfill Chávez’s term. The fireworks that marked the aggressive campaign are, in a sense, still going off. The unexpectedly close special presidential election between interim president Nicolás Maduro and opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, with a difference of 1.8 percent of the vote (or 272,865 votes), was followed by postelection turmoil in the streets and opposing international calls for either a vote recount or immediate recognition of Maduro’s slim victory.

Venezuela: Election Officials Agree to Full Recount | Latin American Herald Tribune

Amid persistent political tension in Venezuela, the CNE election authority accepted opposition candidate Henrique Capriles’s request for a review of 100 percent of the ballots cast in last weekend’s special presidential election. CNE chair Tibisay Lucena said in a televised statement late Thursday that authorities would proceed to audit the 46 percent of ballot boxes that were not subject to a recount on election day. The Venezuelan electoral system relies on electronic voting backed up by paper ballots and the CNE automatically reviews a random sample of 54 percent of the votes to detect discrepancies between the electronic tabulation and the paper records.

Venezuela: Maduro threatens oil trade in row with US over disputed presidential election | AFP

Venezuela stepped up attacks on the United States, threatening retaliatory measures affecting trade and energy if Washington resorts to sanctions in a row over the country’s disputed presidential election. Vowing not to go back on the late Hugo Chavez’s revolution, President Nicolas Maduro said at a swearing-in ceremony for his new cabinet, “There will be no pact here of any kind with the bourgeoisie. Make no mistake.” He accused the United States of threatening Venezuela, and spoke with approval of the warning to Washington leveled earlier in the day by Foreign Minister Elias Jaua in Guayaquil, Ecuador. “If the United States takes recourse to economic sanctions, or sanctions of any other kind, we will take measures of a commercial, energy, economic and political order that we consider necessary,” Jaua said in a television interview.

Venezuela: Election council to audit vote in Venezuela | Post Bulletin

Venezuela’s electoral council announced Thursday night that it would audit the 46 percent the vote not scrutinized on election night in a concession to opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who said he believes it will prove he is the president. “We are where we want to be,” a satisfied but cautious-looking Capriles told a news conference after the announcement. “I think I will have the universe of voters needed to get where I want to be.”

Venezuela: Maduro relents, offers full election audit | Sydney Morning Herald

Venezuela’s President-elect Nicolas Maduro has agreed to a full audit of the votes cast as the opposition continues to contest the country’s closest election in 45 years. Mr Maduro’s campaign chief, Jorge Rodriguez, made the announcement after opposition leader Henrique Capriles called off a march on Wednesday to protest against the results of Sunday’s presidential election. Mr Capriles, who requested a manual recount of the 15 million votes, acted after Mr Maduro said he would come down with a ”firm hand” on opposition supporters and violence led to eight deaths.

Venezuela: Manual recount not possible in Venezuela, chief justice says |

A manual recount of votes isn’t possible in Venezuela, the head of the country’s Supreme Court said Wednesday, suggesting there is no legal basis for the opposition’s push for a ballot-by-ballot audit of the narrow presidential election results. In nationally televised remarks, Venezuelan Chief Justice Luisa Estella Morales said Venezuela’s 1999 constitution eliminated manual recounts in favor of a “system audit.” “In Venezuela the electoral system is completely automated. Therefore, a manual count does not exist. Anyone who thought that could really happen has been deceived,” she said. “The majority of those who are asking for a manual count know it and are clear about it. Elections are not audited ballot by ballot but through the system.”

Venezuela: Options narrow for opposition as Supreme Court chief says no way for vote recount | The Washington Post

Venezuela’s opposition watched its options dwindle Wednesday after the head of the Supreme Court said there could be no recount of the razor-thin presidential election victory by Hugo Chavez’s heir, leaving many government foes feeling the only chance at power is to wait for the ruling socialists to stumble. Opposition activists and independent observers called the judge’s declaration blatant and legally unfounded favoritism from a purportedly independent body that is packed with confederates of President-elect Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s hand-picked successor. The recount issue isn’t before the court, but its president, Luisa Morales, appeared on television at midday to declare that the opposition call for an examination of each and every paper vote receipt had “angered many Venezuelans.”

Venezuela: OAS offers support for recount after tight race in Venezuela | Caribbean360

Against the backdrop of demands for a recount, election authorities in Venezuela yesterday proclaimed Hugo Chavez’s chosen successor Nicolas Maduro as the country’s president-elect. “It was a result that was truly fair, constitutional and popular,” Maduro declared, while criticizing opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ refusal to concede. According to Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, Maduro secured 50.8% of votes in Sunday’s election, while opposition candidate Capriles won 49.0%. The results were certified at a ceremony in Caracas by the country’s top election official who said Venezuela’s voting system had worked perfectly.

Venezuela: Government defends election result, backtracks on recount pledge | The Washington Post

Venezuela’s government on Monday defended a presidential election that authorities said gave interim leader Nicolas Maduro a six-year term, backtracking on a pledge he had made to permit an audit of ballots demanded by the opposition after the razor-thin victory. Henrique Capriles, who had challenged Maduro in the Sunday election, which was held six weeks after President Hugo Chavez’s death, insisted that he had won the vote and called for a hand count of all the paper ballots.

Venezuela: Opposition candidate demands recount after Chavez’s heir Nicolas Maduro wins Venezuela presidency | Fox News

Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, won a razor-thin victory in Sunday’s special presidential election, edging the opposition’s leader by only about 300,000 votes, electoral officials announced. His challenger, Henrique Capriles, declared that he wouldn’t accept the results and called for a full recount. Maduro’s stunningly close victory came after a campaign in which the winner promised to carry on Chavez’s self-proclaimed socialist revolution while Capriles’ main message was that Chavez’s 14-year regime put Venezuela on the road to ruin.

Venezuela: Rivals rally supporters after clashes over election results | Chicago Tribune

Both sides in Venezuela’s political stand-off will hold rival demonstrations on Tuesday after authorities rejected opposition demands for a presidential election recount and protesters clashed with police in Caracas. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles says his team’s figures show he won the election on Sunday and he wants a full audit of official results that narrowly gave victory to ruling party candidate Nicolas Maduro, the country’s acting president.

Venezuela: Venezuelan opposition candidate demands recount |

Denouncing election irregularities, Venezuelan opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski demanded a recount and said early Monday that he will not recognize the country’s presidential results “until every vote is counted.” His comments came less than an hour after officials said the man former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez handpicked to be his successor had won the country’s presidential vote. With 99% of votes counted, Nicolas Maduro won 50.66% of votes, National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena said, calling the results “irreversible.” Capriles won 49.07% of votes, she said.

Venezuela: Venezuela votes in hi-tech poll to choose Chávez successor |

Venezuelans went to hi-tech polling booths on Sunday for the first presidential election of the post-Hugo Chávez era, with surveys indicating that his chosen successor will win a clear mandate to continue his policies of “21st Century Socialism.” … Capriles, a 40-year-old state governor who promised to manage the economy more effectively, wrote on his Twitter feed that this event – widely covered by the government-controlled media – was a “flagrant violation” of electoral rules that forbid campaigning in the two days prior to the vote. It was one of many claims of unfairness leveled by the challenger, who is disadvantaged by Maduro’s extra airtime on state news channels, his use of the presidential jet to fly to rallies, and resources and personnel from massive state-owned companies. In contrast, the vote itself has been lauded by outside observers as among the most advanced in the world.