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Posts Tagged ‘Elections

Venezuelan Election Results and Commentary

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Written by annnee

November 29, 2008 at 2:16 am

In Defense of a Corrupt Dictatorship

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Venezuela is holding elections today.  A lot has been said about Venezuelan corruption and suppression of authentic democracy.  In contrast to the unfavorable charges, the Venezuela Information Centre published some note worthy facts about the country’s elections.

Highlights include:

The elections will be the 14th set of national votes held since 1998 when Hugo Chávez was first elected as President. Hugo Chávez and his coalition of supporters have won 12 of the 13 previous national elections and referenda. This is in stark contrast to the 40 years prior to President Chávez‘s election, when only 15 national electoral contests were staged in Venezuela.

Elections under the government of Hugo Chavez have been verified as free and fair by a range of independent international observers including the Organisation of American States, the European Union and the US Carter Centre.

With regards to equality, half of the candidates standing in the local and regional elections will be women, following the implementation of legislation to ensure gender equality earlier this year. This is a tremendous advance for women in Venezuela – when these elections were last contested in 2004, 82% of candidates were male and 18% female.

The November 23 elections will be 100% computerised. Voting will take place using an electronic touch-screen voting machine that will provide every voter with a receipt. This allows the election authorities to conduct a manual recount of the paper receipts if the tally of a particular voting centre is challenged. The full electronic results will also be checked against a hand counted audit of 53 per cent of the machines.

… latest annual survey of Latin American opinion, carried out by the independent and respected polling firm Latinobarometro, showed that Venezuela is now the country with the greatest support for democracy in Latin America on 82%.

Venezuela is also now the country with the second highest levels of satisfaction with their democracy: 49% against an average of 37%. Additionally, Venezuela has, by far, the greatest number of political parties registered of any Latin American nation: 85 compared to the next highest of 22.(4)

Some controversy has been made over the barring of 250 candidates.  The claim is that the candidates, who have been disqualified after being found guilty of corruption and/or misuse of public funds, are being barred in an attempt to exclude Chávez opponents.  The Venezuelan newspaper Ultimas Noticias notes that a majority of the disqualified candidates are in fact government supporters.

Compare the Venezuelan disqualifying of candidates to the US Democratic Party’s lawsuits to get Ralph Nader’s name removed from ballots, and the Republican Party’s apparent voter disenfranchisement efforts in Michigan, New Mexico, Colorado and elsewhere.

Written by Aaron Nee

November 23, 2008 at 7:16 pm