|Henrique Capriles Radonski, headed for a crushing defeat in the 2012 Presidential Elections in Venezuela
The presidential candidate for the Venezuelan opposition coalition, Henrique Capriles Radonski, made various evasive comments this week about the lack of confidence he has in the National Electoral Council (CNE) as an independent power that organizes the electoral process. His comments support fears expressed by government that he is not planning on recognizing the official results of the election in October should he lose.
Last week Capriles stated, “the CNE has to guarantee the electoral process is transparent, and it’s not a secret to anyone that there exists a level of inequality in the elections”. After registering his candidature with the same CNE earlier in the month, he claimed to be able to see “the reality of having all the odds stacked on their (the government’s) behalf; the disproportion from the institutional viewpoint”.
These comments come amongst increasing, yet futile, pressure from the government for the opposition to publically declare they will recognize and respect the results of the presidential elections.
Francisco Ameliach from the PSUV Socialist Party recently stated that the opposition is launching a “campaign to not recognize the electoral institution. It’s evident that there is a line of action to sew doubts... They are preparing a scenario similar to 2005 when they withdrew after creating a campaign against the electoral body”.
The CNE operates as an independent body and is responsible for overseeing and organizing the logistics of all national elections. It has overseen 14 popular votes since Chavez came to power in 1998, as well as numerous internal elections, upon request, such as those of a trade union or a political party. Noticeably it oversaw the defeat of the government’s constitutional reform package in 2007, as well as opposition primary elections earlier this year.
It is considered to administer one of the most advanced and secure electoral processes in the world. All previous elections have been observed and confirmed as free and fair, both by thousands of local ‘table witnesses’- representatives from the complete spectrum of political parties in Venezuela- as well as numerous international observers from recognized bodies including the Carter Center, the Organization of American States, and the European Union.
The elusiveness of Capriles’ comments reveal some of the divisions within his own alliance with regards to the CNE as well as his commitment to democracy. As evidence comes to light of various differing camps of thought within the opposition alliance, Capriles cannot risk alienating any of them by declaring neither his confidence nor lack of confidence in the electoral body and the democratic process of the country.
Pablo Perez, current Governor of Zulia, recently explained why he thinks that the opposition should recognize the results in October be what they may: “We have to be very clear here, we have to understand that this is an electoral process, and that the result has to be recognized by the other side, we can’t fall into the trap of calling fraud in advance”.
However, last June 18 Capriles showed his lack of confidence in the CNE despite the fact that it was the same CNE which declared him the winner of the governor’s elections in Miranda state in 2008. In comments to the Miami Herald, he stated that he had a chance to win in October “unless the government is looking to steal the elections through fraud”.
Many consider the fact that the opposition have still not declared their intention to adhere to the democratic outcome in October as a sign they are planning an alternative strategy to topple Chavez that doesn’t include the ballot box. Speaking from Mendoza, Argentina, and in light of the antidemocratic political trials in Paraguay which have ousted the elected leader Fernando Lugo, Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, highlighted the necessity of defeating and isolating the right wing factions who are in favor of a coup d’état wherever they present themselves, and for the need to develop a process of respect for democracy.
Source: Correo del Orinoco