Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Reconciling Venezuela's 2012 Election Outcome

Hugo Chavez giving a speech to Venezuelans
Based on the count of votes, Hugo Chavez won the Venezuelan Presidential Election, 54.42 percent to 44.97 percent for Henrique Caprilles Radonski. The margin of difference is 9.45 percent. 80.94 percent of the Venezuelan electorate voted in this election. The FDA has no basis to question the automated count of the Venezuelan vote as it is safeguarded for example by 14 different audits on the automated system, encryption votes, and observation by political representatives including signed agreement on vote tallies.

However, the Venezuelan electoral process has a major deficiency in financial transparency. Electoral finances are only transparent to the state, and therefore, pro-governments have the potential for corrupt financial practices (such as the state funneling public money to these parties), and anti-government parties subject to unjust assessments of their finances including targeting their contributors, and in particular contributors who work for Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). To put this in context, Venezuela has a comprehensive process for monitoring candidate and party finances, including random audits, monthly disclosure of finances, and no anonymous contributions.

Related to Venezuelan electoral finances, there are no caps or limits on billboards, flyers, posters, and campaign events, because these are not covered by the complete and balanced coverage requirement. In addition, the limits on mass media advertisements such as three minutes per day for television advertisements during the 97-day campaign period favor wealthy candidates and parties. Both these media areas are related to electoral finances and the potential for financial wrongdoing.

The FDA and no one else has evidence of electoral finance wrongdoing, because the finances are only transparent to the state. Interestingly, Chavezites like Eva Golinger claim that the U.S. government has funneled 40 million to opposition parties by U.S. Agencies such as USAID, NED, Republican International Institute, Democratic International Institute, Freedom House, Pan American Foundation for Development, and Institute of Open Society (Soros). So there is motivation for the Venezuelan State to counter the influence of foreign money on the election process. Yet, Venezuelan election laws disallow foreigners from contributing to election campaigns. Surely, Venezuelan authorities would be able to trace opposition funds, and thereby prevent the influence of foreign monies.

Assuming that pro-government parties had an advantage in electoral finances and media coverage, which is clearly possible, then the election outcome on October 7th may have been a lot closer than the 9.45 percent margin. By the same token, if the public money used by pro-government parties offset foreign money used by opposition parties, then there would be no overall impact on the election outcome. Yet, the Venezuelan electorate would be caught between parties who use illegal means to attain their goals.


Commentary:

Chavez Wins Venezuelan Presidential Election with 54% of the Vote
By Ewan Robertson (venezuelanalysis.com)

Hugo Chavez has won the Venezuelan presidential election with 54.42% of the vote against 44.97% for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. Chavez has made his victory speech, while Capriles has recognised his defeat.

The “first bulletin” results were announced by the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, at around 10pm Venezuelan time, with 90% of the votes totaled, enough to give Chavez an irreversible victory.
The CNE president said, “Once again we’ve had a calm electoral process, without problems, with the joy of this people who decided to vote massively today”.

A spontaneous street party immediately kicked off in the centre of the Andean city of Merida, and a massive crowd of Chavez supporters began celebrating in front of the presidential palace, Miraflores, in Caracas.

“Venezuela will never return to neoliberalism and will continue in the transition to socialism of the 21st century,” Chavez declared to supporters from the “People’s Balcony” of the presidential palace, after his victory was confirmed.

“I want make a recognition to the whole Venezuelan people, the whole Venezuelan nation. Today the country of (Simon) Bolivar was reborn,” added the socialist president, while congratulating the country “for a civic and democratic day”.

The re-elected Venezuelan president also congratulated the Venezuelan opposition for recognising the CNE’s result, saying “they’ve recognised the truth, they’ve recognised the victory of the people”.

Meanwhile, Henrique Capriles, who was the candidate for the opposition Roundtable of Democratic Unity Coalition (MUD), recognised his defeat, stating to supporters “to know how to win, you need to know how to lose!”

He added, “We began the construction of a path and on it there are more than six million people who are looking for a better future…I’m convinced that this country can be better and I’m convinced that Venezuela is going to be better”.

Chavez received a total of 7,444,082 votes to 6,151,154 for his right-wing rival. He will govern for the 2013 – 2019 presidential term, his third constitutional term in office under the 1999 National Constitution.

Turnout was one the highest in Venezuela’s history, with 80.94% of the 19,119,809 registered voters in Venezuela participating in the election.


Questions for Readers:

Does the Venezuelan election outcome give Chavez a mandate to continue his socialist project? Or should Chavez balance his domestic and international policies in consideration of the 44.97 percent who voted against him?

1 comment:

  1. Does Hugo Chavez's victory really represent a victory for the socialism Ideology. I being a socialist do not think so. Socialism by definition is a blend of govt and people working together for the betterment of the country. In Venezuela's case yes Chavez has done a lot trying to promote affordable health care and social services yet many people still suffer high levels of poverty. Chavez' socialist ideas only benefit a few these few are members of Chavez's current govt, him, his family and a select few. Crime has increased and Caracas is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. In my view, Chavez is a lot like our Canadian Pm support the govt in power and by God u ll be treated with royalty. Examples of that Include conservative MP being fined for the marijuana found in the trunk of his car had it been someone else that person would be in jail in the same token, if you are Chavez's friend you have all the royal privileges the moment u turn against him, you are jailed. The Harp and the Chav have numerous similarities of them one that stands out the most is rob from the poor to feed the rich.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for sharing your perspective.