Friday, May 3rd 2013 - 06:09 UTC

Venezuelan opposition formally challenges Maduro’s victory in April’s snap election

The Venezuelan opposition on Thursday challenged the results of last month's presidential poll won by the late Hugo Chavez's successor, further muddying an already messy transition to life without the divisive leader. The formal challenge was done with the Supreme Court, despite allegations the tribunal is loaded with pro-Chavez judges and certain to reject the challenge.

Carpiles called the audit of the electronic voting system a “farce”

Opposition coalition official Ramon Jose Medina said the complaint alleges “bribery, violence and fraud” throughout the electoral process that ended in victory for Chavez heir Nicolas Maduro over rival Henrique Capriles.

This step was in essence a necessary formality before the opposition takes its case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights -- part of the Organization of American States.

Maduro, a former bus driver, won the April 14 election by a slim margin of just 1.5 percentage points, according to the National Electoral Council. But Capriles, who lost to Chavez himself by 11 points in elections, held back in October, has cited multiple irregularities and said the government stole the snap election called after Chavez -- the ubiquitous and garrulous crowd-pleaser who had been in power since 1998 -- died of cancer in March.

An audit launched by the election council Monday is a superficial “farce” because it is only examining the electronic voting system itself and not physical records of the April election, Capriles said Wednesday.

Tensions have been running very high since the election to replace the bombastic, larger than life Chavez.

He used Venezuela's vast oil wealth to fund programs for the poor, developing an almost cult-like following among them, but was loathed by wealthier Venezuelans who said he turned the economy into an inflation-ridden basket case and oversaw a huge rise in violent street crime corruption and squandering.

In protests right after last month's voting, at least nine people died and dozens more were injured.

Opposition and pro-government lawmakers fought with their fists and their feet in a spectacular brawl in congress on Tuesday. And the two sides held dueling May Day marches on Wednesday, with Maduro calling Capriles a “crybaby” who could not accept defeat.

11 comments Feed

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1 manchesterlad (#) May 03rd, 2013 - 11:47 am Report abuse
Even though I wanted Capriles to win, I think his tactics are wrong in pursuing what seems like a lost cause

Maduro & his cronies will never have a recount since it will expose all the fraud that went on & show him up to be the illegitimate president he is

Capriles best bet is to accept the results & wait for Maduro to finish off what Chavez started 14 years ago i.e. bring the country to it's knees through mismanagement, corruption & social policies that died with the Soviet Union
2 Tobers (#) May 03rd, 2013 - 12:35 pm Report abuse
6 years is a long time to wait. And theres no guarantee that Maduro's position wont strengthen even if things get alot worse. Look at Cuba. Also what a hell of a mess to clean up! Better for Capriles to keep applying pressure after all he only 'lost' by a tiny % which means half the country are desperate for him to get rid of the Bolivarian bullshit.
3 ElaineB (#) May 03rd, 2013 - 01:57 pm Report abuse
I was flip-flop-ing over this. It probably is in the opposition's interest to keep the country divided and questioning the result - the voters are almost equally divided - especially as there is major trouble ahead. With the lack of electricity, food and stability, people are not going to be quiet in their discontent.
4 GFace (#) May 03rd, 2013 - 02:14 pm Report abuse
@1 I disagree in part. He and the rest of the opposition had to be “engaged” until there was no doubt that the system was a joke. It has been demonstrated to be so since the CNE has refused to examine their specific complaints in the election. It has been demonstrated by saying that there is a jail cell waiting for him for the crime of running for a government reserved now for the PSUV. It's been demonstrated to be so when they locked the doors of assembly, and assaulted opposition legislators.

He and his colleagues did their part for liberal democracy. They are now at risk. They can't fix the system from a grave and they probably aren't safe in a PSUV jail cell.

Even the contrarian “Eustonian” left wing progressives Harry's Place, who have long opposed Chavismo, are now basically thinking it's time for the opposition to go “John Galt” on the country. And when progressives start channeling Ayn Rand, you know it's pretty bad. It's fearfully unfortunate what will happen to the country and its most vulnerable people who have been suckered by the PSUV, but maybe they SHOULD just let it go, let it crash and then rebuild.
5 manchesterlad (#) May 03rd, 2013 - 04:01 pm Report abuse
There is no way Maduro will last 6 years, even Chavez had to recover from a coup attempt...... & Maduro is no Chavez!!!

When the economy crashes (it`s on the brink already) more people will blame the bus driver for the problems & will want a change.... this will give Capriles a bit of a majority & more legitimacy to challenge Maduro

The 50/50 split at the moment is too volatile & will inevitably lead to more violence & death..... I`m not sure Capriles wants to be blamed for more bloodshed!!!
6 Tobers (#) May 03rd, 2013 - 04:26 pm Report abuse
I think the big question is what will the armed forces do? When all really goes to shit will they continue to back Maduro et al? Unfortunately it looks like its going to get increasingly messy.
7 reality check (#) May 03rd, 2013 - 07:58 pm Report abuse
How do you seriously talk politics with a guy sitting opposite dressed like a ferkin pizza delivery boy!!!!!!
8 Troy Tempest (#) May 03rd, 2013 - 11:29 pm Report abuse

“How do you seriously talk politics with a guy sitting opposite dressed like a ferkin pizza delivery boy!!!!!!”

Nationalists literally wrapping themselves in the flag.

They would be better Patriots if they would follow the law and ratify the election results.
9 cornelius (#) May 04th, 2013 - 02:01 pm Report abuse
Patriotism The last refuge of scoundrels!
10 Welsh Wizard (#) May 07th, 2013 - 08:34 am Report abuse
“The formal challenge was done with the Supreme Court, despite allegations the tribunal is loaded with pro-Chavez judges and certain to reject the challenge.”

This is the primary reason for Argentina wanting to “democratise” their judiciary. Politically aligned judges.
11 Stevie (#) May 09th, 2013 - 02:17 pm Report abuse
Welsh Wiz
You mean they are not politically aligned today?

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