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

Friday, May 3rd 2013 - 06:09 UTC
Full article 11 comments
Carpiles called the audit of the electronic voting system a “farce” Carpiles called the audit of the electronic voting system a “farce”

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.

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.

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  • manchesterlad

    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

    May 03rd, 2013 - 11:47 am 0
  • Tobers

    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.

    May 03rd, 2013 - 12:35 pm 0
  • ElaineB

    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.

    May 03rd, 2013 - 01:57 pm 0
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