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Venezuela's Electoral Council: Touching bottom?

From | VenEconomy

29.11.05 | This Monday, the National Electoral Council (CNE) “succumbed” to clear, unquestionable evidence that the fingerprint identification machines violate the universal principle of the secrecy of the ballot. In response to pressure from the OAS and the political parties, in particular Primero Justicia and Un Nuevo Tiempo (Manuel Rosales’ party), the CNE agreed to eliminate the use of the fingerprint identification machines at the December 4 elections, claiming that it was doing so as a temporary concession to increase participation, but insisting that it will use them in future elections.

This alone confirms that the CNE is manipulative, untruthful, and totally unreliable.

It has been made quite clear that the agency that represents the Electoral Branch of government in Venezuela has been lying barefacedly since last year, when it imposed the fingerprint identification machines on voters during the Recall Referendum, on the pretext that they would prevent people from voting more than once. It also lied when it claimed that these machines were reliable. And it lied when it refuted repeated claims by Súmate and election technicians that the privacy of the vote was being violated.

What is more, the CNE’s “concession” generated a climate of even greater confusion among political leaders and in the electorate, who are unclear which is the best path to take when dealing with a government that has redefined the concept of democracy, turning it into a fallacy.

The capacity that this illegitimate CNE has for trickery and fraud has been demonstrated, not only with the matter of the fingerprint identification machines but also with a manipulated, distorted Permanent Electoral Roll, allowing “twin voting,” and its unwillingness to count all the ballots, to name just a few of the many irregularities. Faced with this situation, Acción Democrática, COPEI, and Proyecto Venezuela have withdrawn from the December 4 elections, the first time such a thing has happened in the history of these parties. Primero Justicia and Un Nuevo Tiempo are in the process of deciding whether or not to take part in the elections and it still remains to be seen what stand they will take. If they do not withdraw, they will run the risk of being isolated or of being dubbed traitors by people who side with the opposition. The best option for both parties seems to be to apply the maxim of the political analyst Aníbal Romero, who says “it’s never too late to recover one’s dignity.”

Venezuela is on the threshold of yet another stage in its democratic process, and much water still has to flow under the bridge

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