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.
Voters lodge their choices electronically on touchscreens, then place printed hardcopies in a ballot box before signing their names to confirm they have done their electoral duty.
On the streets of Caracas, it was easy to spot those who had already voted by their purple little fingers, marked with indellible ink to ensure that nobody could cast a ballot twice.
Former US president Jimmy Carter has described this system as the best of the 92 national elections that his Carter Centre has monitored worldwide, though his organisation has emphasised there are concerns about campaign fairness.