MARIA LILIBETH DA CORTE
Interior Relations and Justice Minister, Jesse Chacón,
Friday stated that voters will be allowed to witness the printing
out of tally sheets, but "they will have to leave" the electoral
center when the selected paper ballot box is audited, during
the October 31 election for governors, mayors, and local lawmakers.
"We urge Venezuelans to understand that this is what the
(automated electoral) system is about; this is the right procedure.
In this way, we will not have to activate the Plan República
to remove people from the electoral centers," Chacón
He explained that only the designated electoral witnesses
will be allowed to be in the electoral center when the selected
machine is audited "under the terms that have been agreed
to with the opposition actors."
Chacón's statements came at the Vice President's Office,
after he met with Vice President José Vicente Rangel,
Defense Minister Jorge García Carneiro, and the chief
officers of the country's top security bodies in order to
discuss a nationwide security plan that is to be deployed
during the October 31 regional and local election.
After the meeting, Chacón and García Carneiro gave
a news conference to elaborate on the security plan. Nevertheless,
Chacón preferred to specify the rules for the presence
of voters at the electoral centers during the count of votes.
Chacón said "leaflets and e-mails have been published
making Venezuelans believe that the audit is a part of the
vote count, which is false. In an automated electoral process,
the vote count is the printing of the tally sheets. The public
process ends there."
He indicated that depending on the size of each electoral
center "Venezuelans will be capable of witnessing the printing
out of the tally sheets before the transmission (of the electoral
results to the headquarters of the National Electoral Center).
Once the printing out is completed, the voting station to
be audited will be randomly selected in order to check the
paper ballots. This process does not make part of the vote
count: it is a part of the audit."
Everything is ready for the election
García Carneiro ensured that a security plan to protect
electoral centers and voters nationwide is ready, with 120,000
Chacón reminded that Ley Seca, a prohibition to drink
alcohol during the election, is in force as of Saturday noon.
Police corps are to be confined to their headquarters nationwide
since midnight on Saturday. People are not allowed to conduct
public meetings and the country's borders will be closed.
Permits to carry firearms were suspended as of Friday night.
García Carneiro ensured the transportation of the paper
ballot boxes will be made in a transparent and safe way. He
claimed it is impossible to manipulate said boxes, as opposition
actors tried to make people believe during the August 15 presidential
The people shall prevail
García Carneiro also warned governors and mayors who
are defeated during the October 31 election and refuse to
hand over power, that "we are not in a country where people
do whatever they want." He added that the National Armed Force
"is ready to face anything."
"In the end, the people will show up at the governor's offices
and mayor's offices to demand the CNE to respect their decision,"
García Carneiro added.
Translated by Maryflor