Maduro Elected President in Venezuela, Will Allow Re-Count
The vote was close as both sides were confident in their positions, but in the end the acting Venezuela President, following the death of the late Hugo Chavez ended with a win April 14.
Nicolas Maduro won the presidential election, which was tallied Sunday night, by less than 300,000 votes and opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has called for a hand re-count; President Maduro has agreed to the re-tabulation.
By late Sunday night, the National Electoral Council of Venezuela had announced that Maduro, of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and former President Hugo Chavez hand-picked successor, had received 7,505,338 votes while Capriles, who represents an opposition alliance of left and rightwing groups, earned 7,270,403 votes, leaving a difference of 234,935.
In a victory speech soon after the results were announced, Maduro expressed gratitude and confidence.
“I trust the people of Venezuela,” he stated, “and that trust has been validated, we will continue together in building our country, our independence.”
Candidate Capriles however, was quick to condemn the results.
The former Governor alleged that his party had reports of more than 3,200 irregularities in the voting process across the country.
“I want the truth to be known,” said Capriles in a speech. “We are going to do everything in our power to reveal it. Mr. Maduro, if you were illegitimate before, now you definitely are!”
“Let’s do it, let them open 100 percent of the voting machines, we’re not afraid,” Maduro asserted in regards to the recount of the votes.
According to the United States based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), however, the Venezuelan electoral process is secure and not easily compromised.
“Although the election was relatively close, Venezuela’s voting system is very secure, and 54.3 percent of the machines are subject to a random paper ballot audit by the National Electoral Council (on which the opposition is represented),” the CEPR stated in a press release on Monday. “Voters make their choice on a touch screen and a paper receipt is printed, which the voter then examines and places in a ballot box. Thus, there are two records for every vote. To manipulate the vote, one would have to fix the machines, and then go back and stuff the ballot boxes to match the electronic manipulation – something that would be extremely difficult if not impossible.”
Despite the calls for a recount and Maduro’s assertion that one would take place, the newly elected President received letters of congratulations from the Presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Haiti.
Plans for the proposed recount have not been publicized as of early Monday afternoon. The inaugural ceremony for newly elected President Maduro is scheduled for later today.