Venezuela's CNE keeps delaying the recall
Who can believe in the National Electoral Council when it changes the rules of the game as situations unfold? What gives the arbitrator credibility and wins it respect is how it complies with the rules and the way it behaves during the game. The CNE has not been exactly above reproach in the way it has gone about things. Quite the opposite, its behavior has been openly questioned by a number of sectors. In its insistence to avoid or delay the recall referendum against President Chávez, the CNE has, time and again, infringed the rules for holding recall referenda approved last year by its own board.
Not only has it failed to meet its own deadlines, but it is also attempting to establish new rules after the fact, i.e. after the signatures were collected. Now there is the statement by CNE board member Jorge Rodríguez regarding the date for announcing the end of the signature verification process, following the Ayacucho Command’s request that the forms from a number of states that had already been passed be rechecked.
According to Rodríguez, the final number of signatures for the recall referenda against deputies and the President of the Republic are to be announced on February 29, but apparently it will not be until March 15 that the CNE will call the referendum. But it so happens that, according to the CNE’s rules, the call to referendum should be made the same day as the total number of verified signatures is announced.
If to this we add the practice of persecuting, following, and committing abuses against CNE board members who are sympathetic to the opposition, the kidnapping of persons who have ties with the Democratic Coordinator, and the decision to not guarantee the security of the opposition’s march on February 14, it is clear that the government is implementing a policy of State terrorism in the hopes of creating a climate of chaos that will prevent the referendum from being held.
The outbreaks of violence students and the National Guard and the DISIP (political police) in different parts of the countries in the past few days seem to be a sample of what is in store.
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