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Venezuelan Opposition Rejects Government Help With Its Presidential Primary – Bloomberg

  • Opposition primary candidates signed an agreement to uphold common principles of government change, unity and national restructuring.
Jesus Maria Casal, president of the National Electoral Commission for the opposition primaries, speaks during a primary election agreement event at the Chacaito Theater in Caracas, Venezuela, on Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. (Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg)

Andreina Itriago Acosta, Bloomberg News

CARACAS
EnergiesNet.com 10 02 2023

Venezuela’s opposition rejected technical support from the government for its presidential primary, risking a chaotic vote and a possible court battle. 

The opposition on Monday ratified that it would organize the Oct. 22 vote independently of the electoral authority, or CNE, using paper ballots rather than the state’s voting machines. 

The committee in charge of the process also rejected the idea of pushing back the date of the vote.

The CNE had offered to provide voting centers, electoral machines and other devices, while not interfering in other, nontechnical aspects, Elvis Amoroso, president of the CNE, said Friday. But many in the opposition had feared government interference and fraud, and argued for proceeding independently. 

Front-runner María Corina Machado called for the use of paper ballots as the only way to guarantee the secrecy of the vote.

Some opposition members argued in favor of accepting the CNE’s help, saying it would significantly cut the cost of running the vote, and guarantee familiar venues for Venezuelans to cast their ballots.

President Nicolás Maduro is trying to convince outsiders that the 2024 presidential elections will be well run, after the US said it may ease crippling economic sanctions if the vote is fair. 

Legal Challenges

The primary may now face legal challenges. The CNE board has previously warned that its duties include organize electoral processes “either after a party’s request or a court order.” 

It had also secured over 3,000 voting centers in sheds, parking lots, houses of political activists, and some public spaces, some of which are vulnerable to violence or intimidation. 

The opposition is still requesting that the CNE provide between 300 and 400 official voting centers, as well as security to ensure a peaceful voting day. 

The opposition is trying to pay for the vote with a fund-raising campaign, although it hasn’t disclosed the cost.  

bloomberg.com 10 02 2023

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