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DECEMBER 5, 2005 12:30 PM | We wish to inform the country about the results of our election process observation, which was based on a random statistical sample, representative at a national level. According to this study the electoral participation figure at a national level corresponding to yesterday, December 4, was 17.7 percent. In addition, at a regional level, we wish to emphasize the Capital District, where the participation was 14.9 percent and Carabobo, with 10.4 percent.

These extremely low electoral participation figures represent the language Venezuelans have chosen to tell the electoral authority and the entire world that if we follow this road we are not heading towards a better country. Venezuela, a model of democracy, shows today the lowest electoral participation figures in its history.

Let us accept that the Venezuela of today is different, and that we Venezuelans want to vote in freedom and thus do not believe in this corrupt process, which the National Electoral Council insists on imposing upon us, a Council whose arrogance is leading us towards the road to exclusion and single-party system. If the National Electoral Council would have listened to the requests of the citizens, the story would now be different, Venezuelans would have voted yesterday and today we would have a multiple-party system and a legitimate national assembly.

Yesterday was not –as it is sought to show Venezuelans and the world- a perfectly normal day… What is normal in a democracy and particularly in a democracy such as ours, is that people vote.

Nor was it a normal that, yesterday, citizens were intimidated, public employees were coerced, not only by threats –but outright intimidation made illegally by deputy Iris Varela, according to whom civil servants would be dismissed if they did not vote- but also by means of telephone calls to their private telephones. Perhaps this explains the very high number of invalid votes registered. Many people went to vote because they were scared and decided to cast an invalid vote.

It was not a normal day; in a normal day there should be no official advantage. There was clear evidence yesterday of official advantage, the speech of the president of the republic and the constant summons through all communications means by members of the government party and high ranked public officers.

Despite all these summons, voting centers were empty throughout most of the day, however, the National Electoral Council (CNE), in violation of the Organic Law of Suffrage and Political Participation and infringing the agreement signed with international observers, extended the voting period beyond 4 PM. According to our figures, over 30% of the votes scrutinized were registered during that extension period.

What has become evident is the peremptory failure of the CNE whose delegitimation has been backed by both followers of the government and those of the opposition. A CNE that now brings forth a likewise illegitimate National Assembly. We cannot continue to contaminate all electoral acts with illegitimacy.

Today, the national government has two options: to continue its strategy of wanting to cover the sun with one finger, turning a deaf ear on the country and continue as if nothing had happened, or listen and ponder about the profound meaning of what has happened here and open itself to rectification to once more find the democratic country.

We, the citizens, are expectant, for depending upon the road chosen by the government we will shall choose our fighting mechanisms until the normal pattern in Venezuela is that all of us Venezuelans go out to vote and happily elect our legitimate representatives.

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