December 7, 2005

The EU Electoral Observation Mission's Preliminary Report

is here.

Key Findings:

  • Wide sectors of the Venezuelan society do not have trust in the electoral process and in the independence of the electoral authority.

  • The legal framework contains several inconsistencies that leave room for differing and contradictory interpretations.

  • The disclosure of a computerized list of citizens indicating their political preference in the signature recollection process for the Presidential Recall Referendum (so-called “Maisanta Program”) generates fear that the secrecy of the vote could be violated.

  • The CNE, in a positive attempt to restore confidence in the electoral process, took significant steps to open the automated voting system to external scrutiny and to modify various aspects that were questioned by the opposition.

  • The CNE decision to eliminate the fingerprint capturing devices from the voting process was timely, effective and constructive.

  • The electoral campaign focused almost exclusively on the issue of distrust in the electoral process and lack of independence of the CNE. The debate on political party platforms was absent.

  • Both State and private media monitored showed bias towards either of the two main political blocks.

  • The EU EOM took note with surprise of the withdrawal of the majority of the opposition parties only four days before the electoral event.

  • Election Day passed peacefully with a low turnout. While the observers noted several irregularities in the voting procedures, the manual audit of the voting receipts revealed a high reliability of the voting machines.

  • These elections did not contribute to the reduction of the fracture in the Venezuelan society. In this sense, they represented a lost opportunity.

  • This bit, in the inside pages, is just priceless:
    The use of the electoral technique known as Morochas, which allows the duplication of parties in order to avoid the subtraction of the seats gained in the plurality-majority list from the proportional list, certainly defies the spirit of the Constitution, but it is technically allowed by the mixed system of representation laid out in the Basic Law of Suffrage and Political Participation.
    So the morochas are legal but unconstitutional...WTF!?!??