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Manuel Rosales warns Chavez about fraud

By Aleksander Boyd

Caracas 21.11.06 | Presidential candidate Manuel Rosales gave a press conference today to foreign correspondants. Yesterday he did just as much with local journalists. The take away message from both events was the same: he said he will not allow any monkey business in the coming presidential election. Both yesterday and today he was asked whether he would respect the results should Chavez win the race. Rosales replied that should the incumbent win under normal conditions, that is respecting legislation and due process, he will have no problem in accepting whatever result is produced after the electorate expresses its will at the ballots. However he said unambiguously that he will not permit any violations to electoral norms and legislation; "let's count ourselves and let the best man win, but under absolute normalcy and transparency for I will not allow any tricks from the government as it has been the case in previous processes" stated Rosales.

Rosales informed yesterday that 1,9 million volunteers had been trained to defend the vote, which simply means that as observers and members of voting centres and mesas they will see that electoral norms and legislation are fully complied with. Rosales called upon all Venezuelans to join in the effort, stressing upon the need of ensuring that results indeed reflect the will of the electorate. The National Electoral Council (CNE) granted earlier in the year the audit of 55% of mesas -number of mesas vary according to number of registered voters per centre- and final results are to be sent to CNE's servers only after audits have concluded and tallies have been printed, as opposed to what happened during the recall in 2004 that the voting machines were sending information to CNE's tallying rooms since 7AM and no meaningful audits took place.

It's worth bearing in mind that Manuel Rosales defended his victory for Zulia's governorship in 2004 with copies of tallies of every voting centre in that state; Rosales' team of electoral observers and mesa members ensured that no communication between Smartmatic machines and CNE servers ocurred before tallying was completed.

At the press conference with foreign journalists Rosales was asked about polls and the alleged lead that Chavez has got. He calmly stated that such results are to be expected considering that these pollsters are contracted by PDVSA. Some days ago PDVSA's CEO and Minister of Energy Rafael Ramirez stated to managers that the company's raison d'etre was to support fully Comandante Chavez's revolution.

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