Venezuela has a transparent voting system but the election to replace late leader Hugo Chavez will be “deeply undemocratic” because the government candidate has an unfair advantage over the opposition, a member of the electoral body said. Vicente Diaz, known as the dissenting voice on the five-member National Electoral Council (CNE), told AFP that it was impossible for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles to have as much media visibility as Chavez’s chosen successor, acting President Nicolas Maduro. “If we look at the national electoral eco-system, we stand before a deeply undemocratic election because the basic principle is that the candidates participate in equal conditions, and this is not the case,” Diaz said. Speaking on Tuesday, the day the campaign for the April 14 election formally kicked off, Diaz pulled out a local newspaper and showed a page with a Capriles campaign ad and another one for Maduro financed by the ruling PSUV socialist party. The daily, however, contained eight more pages of Maduro ads paid for by the government.
“This shows the government’s overwhelming advantage in the campaign, without a doubt. And the CNE is encouraging this situation. If Maduro wins, he will do it in the context of an unfair and uneven election,” he said.
The five “rectors” of the CNE, whose president is Tibisay Lucena, are responsible for ensuring the good functioning of the campaign, the voting and the counting of votes.
Diaz is the only member of the council to have frequently denounced the alleged abuses committed by the government in elections. He lodged 16 complaints against Chavez in past campaigns, but they went nowhere.
“Ideally, the CNE would be the symbol of this diverse country,” he said.
Full Article: Venezuela faces ‘undemocratic’ vote: election official.