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Double set of electoral rules in Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London 31 July 2004 – Only two weeks away from the recall referendum Venezuelan officials surprised everyone again. In clear violation to constitutional precepts Foreign Secretary Jesus Perez stressed upon the necessity of demanding proof of residence to those electors voting abroad. CNE’s Carrasquero, Rodriguez and Battaglini were of course customarily accommodative despite the illegal character of the measure. Article 7 of the new norms establishes that Venezuelans abroad will need to present proof of residence according to the regulations of the country in which they are residing. Not content with that they also declared recently that all of those citizens who register to vote abroad recently and that for some reason do not appear in the final database approved and announced yesterday will not be included and therefore their right to vote has, effectively, being forfeited.

However Venezuelan diplomats, who for one reason or the other did not have the time to register or whose registration did not reach the CNE on time to be included in the roll, were sent a memo assuring them that indeed they will be able to vote regardless of their appearance in the roll or not. The office of the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs produced and sent the following communiqué:

REPUBLICA BOLIVARIANA DE VENEZUELA
MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES
DESPACHO DEL VICEMINISTRO

MUY URGENTE

FAX CIRCULAR Nª 203

PARA: JEFES DE LAS EMBAJADAS CONSULADOS Y REPRESENTACIONES PERMANENTES
DE: VICEMINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES
ASUNTO: CONSULTA SOBRE REFERENDO
FECHA: CARACAS, 27 DE JULIO DE 2004

Con relación al proceso de referendo Presidencial, a realizarse el próximo 15 de agosto de 2004, se informa que fue acordado con el Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) que todos los funcionarios de este Despacho, que realizaron la actualización de sus datos, a los fines de votar en la referida Misión Diplomática o Consular y no aparecen inscritos con la nueva dirección en la Página Web del CNE, podrán ejercer su derecho al voto.

En este sentido, el ente comicial remitirá un Cuaderno Supletorio en el que aparecerán reflejados estos funcionarios.

Arévalo Méndez Romero

Roughly translated it states that those diplomats that updated their details in the electoral roll but do not appear in it will still be able to vote in the coming recall referendum as agreed with the National Electoral Council (CNE). In that sense the CNE will issue an additional electoral roll containing said civil servants’ details.

Ergo the regime has two set of rules; one for those who oppose it and one, more lenient and permissive, for those who support it, such as civil servants. Long live the Revolution!!



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