Capriles Makes Official His Challenge of Venezuelan Elections

Henrique Capriles. Photo: telesurtv.net

HAVANA TIMES—  Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski filed legal recourse on Thursday to challenge the country’s recent presidential elections, narrowly won by Nicolas Maduro on April 14, DPA reported.

The motion was presented to the Electoral Hall of Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice, which must now establish a deadline for the presentation of the evidence needed to substantiate the opposition’s claims.

The aim of the motion is to have the results of these elections declared null and secure new elections, Capriles’ attorneys explained.

Capriles stated that this is just the beginning of his efforts to shed light on what occurred at the presidential elections, stressing that “no one is going to give up here.”

“Today, we submitted an electoral motion to the Supreme Court of Justice, meant to exhaust all avenues of appeal available in Venezuela. The document is 155 pages long, it’s like a book,” Capriles said during a press conference.

Capriles pointed out that he had expected Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) to keep its word and conduct a full audit of the election results, as it promised the country and those who attended the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) meeting held in Lima on April 18.

He added that the CNE, which ought to keep its doors open to the public during any audit, “believes it is above Venezuelan law, because no one can supervise them.”

He underscored that, on April 14, Maduro himself publicly agreed to a full re-count of the votes, but then changed his mind and the CNE denied auditors access to the electoral registries, where voters set their fingerprints and signatures after casting their ballots, a procedure which Capriles had considered crucial to his case.

“Since we were denied an audit under those terms, something which is an insult to Venezuelans and the presidents of the UNASUR meeting, since they mocked us and we can’t get the audit we want, I decided to move to officially challenge the elections,” he explained.

Capriles participated in the press conference accompanied by his campaign spokesperson Ramon Jose Medina and attorney Gerardo Fernandez, who told reporters that, owing to the irregularities detected, the motion aims to challenge not only the voting process, but the pre and post-election processes as well.

“We’ve advanced a motion to challenge the elections for corruption, violence and fraud. We’ve substantiated all of our allegations,” Medina said, adding that the motion also calls for the “disqualification” of Chief Magistrate of the Electoral Hall Jhannet Madriz, for having offered unfounded opinions on the matter and for her “ties” to Maduro.

The “impugnation”, if accepted, would mean that Madriz would have to abstain from hearing the matter.

Fernandez explained that the motion challenges the entire electoral process and aims to annul the results.

“We are calling for the impugnation of the procedures prior to April 14, the electoral process of the 14 and the procedures following that date. Our motion is based on the idea that elections are the backbone of democracy, but that one must vote freely and within the bounds established by the Law and the Constitution,” he told reporters.

Fernandez pointed out that the evidence proving the alleged irregularities would be presented during the proceedings.

“During these proceedings, we will prove that the electoral process is void. Our aim is to have new elections held,” he stressed.

He added that the motion to disqualify Madriz stems from her “biased stance” and from having expressed unfounded opinions about the case. In view of this, the opposition asked for the establishment of an alternative Electoral Hall for the proceedings.

He commented that the proceedings would “require time”, a term he did not wish to estimate.

“We’re out to protect the interests of those citizens who voted for Capriles on April 14. Capriles is advancing this motion in his capacity as presidential candidate. The evidence will be submitted in due course,” he explained.

Fernandez added that the motion challenges the electoral system through which votes were collected, the electoral “imbalances”, the abuse of public offices, the irregularities on Election Day and the audits conducted thereafter.

“We’ve come to say that democracy is more than voting. That elections must be held within the Law. We’re going to exhaust all official avenues of appeal, we believe in the Law and that’s why we’ve come here,” he underscored.

On April 14, the CNE announced that Maduro had secured 50.61 percent of the votes (7,586,251 votes), defeating Capriles – who secured 49.12 percent, or 7,361,512 votes – by a narrow margin of less than 1.5 percent.

Capriles refused to recognize these results and demanded a full re-count of the votes, a request which was denied by the CNE. The CNE proceeded to conduct its own audit of the electoral process, inspecting a sample of 46 percent of the votes which were not inspected on the day of the elections.

Despite questions regarding the legality of the elections raised by the opposition, Maduro was sworn in on April 19 and has already undertaken a series of official measures as president.


13 thoughts on “Capriles Makes Official His Challenge of Venezuelan Elections

  • May 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm
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    The ballots of those voting abroad have been counted. My recollection is that they went over 90% for Capriles reducing Maduro’s margin of victory from 275,000 to 225,000.

    I had not heard about the allegation of 191,000 ballots cast by dead people. Do you have a source for this claim?

  • May 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm
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    While I do not share your desire that our Congress devolve into thuggery, I do share your desire that the real passion for representing the interests of the people return. I would like to see this by way of statesmanship however. As this is a site about Cuba, it is appropriate that Cuba not seek the exercise of a false and limited democracy by the exchange of blows but full participatory democracy by the exchange of ideas from all sectors of Cuban society.

  • May 5, 2013 at 10:44 am
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    For your information, former president Lula had to give many concessions for the bourgeoisie in order to be elected in the first place. See the historical ‘Letter for the Brazilians’. Thus, he posed no threat to the US. On the contrary, Chávez on the other hand defied direct interests of the local wealthy class linked to the US corporate power and suffered a coup. That’s a big difference.

    You do nothing but prove my last sentence – ‘democracy’ yes, but when a guy like Allende or Mossadegh wins, the rule no longer applies.

  • May 5, 2013 at 8:53 am
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    It was interesting to see the fisticufs which took place on the floor of the Venezuelan parliament recently. If the Democrates had any real cojones, they’d do the same to the Repugs and running-“blue dog” Democrats on the floor of the House and Senate. Then again, the time has long since passed when the Democratic Party represented the working- and middle-classes, as they did in the 1930’s. For the most part, they are now in the pockets of the same lobbyists as the Repugs, only they appear to play the role of the “good cop” to the Repugs “bad cop.” Even the Repugs, so long ago, were a party which represented the Western (i.e. west of the Appalachians, at least) farmers and the eastern free labor in their struggle against the unfair competition of slave labor and the plantation system. Now, they’ve come full circle, and represent the interests of the large corporations, which increasingly rely on the “slave labor” of workers abroad with no rights of organizing and redress. I look forward to the day when our reps, unbought by the K Street corporate lobbyists, like their Venezuelan bretherin, deal literal blows to the those of their colleagues who have sold their souls and betrayed the Republic!

  • May 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm
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    Are you sure you are not Cuban? Someone with a genuine germanic language background would not erroneously use “desinformation”. That is the kind of minor error someone who is a natural romance language speaker, like Spanish is for a Cuban. Like dissident Eliecer Avila’s old job, there are Cubans, paid by the Castros. to troll the internet to refute anti-Castro truths with personal attacks against the blogger or against the commentor. They very seldom refute the negative post itself or comment with facts that would reflect a different truth. Instead, as your comments usually reflect, these castristas respond by using personal attacks to undermine the integrity or intelligence of the blogger or commentor. As a result, you often see criticism of Yoani Sanchez based on her academic credentials, her alleged income and even her physical appearance. never against the facts she presents in her blog. Either way, your comments are very predictable. If I say Fidel is a thug, you will say I am a thug. If I casts aspersions about Raul’s sexual proclivities, you call me a pervert. I don’t care who you really are. You are free to be as cowardly and dissembling as you wish.

  • May 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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    You`re an optimist Mark. The US don`t invest infinitely in a looser.

  • May 4, 2013 at 11:57 am
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    Typical for your desinformation campaign in this media. If you look at the videos you can clearly see that first of all the opposition provoked like gell and a liitle later they started agressing the quiet banks of the chavistas. The one who threw chairs was no chavista. That`s part of your desinformation. You write : the Us may not agree with everything …. tell me, what do the US have to agree on? Let them agree on their own f… country.

  • May 4, 2013 at 11:40 am
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    If this is true and only time will tell, Henrique Capriles, has presented evidence that shows more than 191,000 ballots were cast by dead people. This is the kind of irregularity that would go unnoticed by the casual observer (unless we are really talking about dead people voting!) and would only be ‘unearthed’ by a legitimate audit. Likewise, some 100,000 ballots of Venezuelans who live abroad and voted from consulate locations. Taken together, it is arithmetically possible that Capriles actually won.

  • May 4, 2013 at 9:44 am
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    Luis, when Lula da Silva was elected in Brazil, he was clearly identified as a leftist progressive leader yet he did not resort to anti-American rhetoric to unify his base. As a result, US relations with Brazil were normal and productive. His protege, Dilma Rousseff continues in his leftist ideology but maintains a pragmatic approach to her relationship with my country. The US may not agree with everything, but the big picture is to move the ball forward. Maduro, on the other hand, has a new conspiracy theory every week. This week he is claiming that Alvaro Uribe is trying to kill him. Three weeks ago it was octogenarian Posado Carriles. Eleven members of the National Assembly opposition are attacked last week on camera and he claims it was their fault. They ‘provoked’ chavista supporters to pick up and throw chairs at them. Gimme a break, Luis. Maduro is a loonie!

  • May 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm
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    I guess you are blindly following Capriles ‘proofs’ of irregularities just like Bush II invented the ‘proofs’ of WMD in Iraq.

    No international observer – which were many – saw anything wrong with the April elections – http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/8940

    Even the Huffington Post acknowledges Maduro’s victory – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-kovalik/us-must-recognize-venezuela_b_3103540.html

    You are nothing more than a coup-supporter. Democracy, yes, but ONLY if the candidate the US likes is the winner.

  • May 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm
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    The only thing that should overturn the election result is if the vote count itself was fraudulent. Other types of irregularities are sadly part and parcel of every democratic election. Not that irregularities should not be challenged and rectified. But it’s hard to believe that irregularities alone could overturn the 225,000 vote difference between Maduro and Capriles.

    Time for MUD party to start organizing for future elections and abandon its attempts to overturn the past election. Time for Capriles to focus on his job as a state governor. If Capriles is successful, he can put himself forward again in 6 years time for national president. He will still be younger than Maduro is today.

  • May 3, 2013 at 9:21 am
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    Based solely on the ‘irregularities’ which took place immediately before and during the elections and the inclusion of the lawful votes of Venezuelans living outside the country, the final tally of less than 1.5% in favor of Maduro is very vulnerable to reversal. The Venezuelan High Court must openly and completely adjudicate the concerns expressed by the Capriles campaign or risk the credibility of Maduro’s presidency and democracy as a whole in Venezuela. Every day, more and more decent and hard-working Venezuelans are asking their government to openly resolve this issue once and for all. It remains to be seen how Maduro’s Cuban handlers will advise him to respond to this court action without resorting to the kind of tactics used in Cuba to ignore lawful citizen requests such as the Varela Project.

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