CARACAS, Friday December 08, 2006 | Update
NGO Súmate has ratified the statement of ex single opposition candidate and Governor of western Zulia state Manuel Rosales, who said that the count and audits results match with the official numbers produced by the National Electoral Council (CNE). However, they highlighted, "balloting was not clean, transparent or reliable."
María Corina Machado, representative of the organization, lamented that the Government had the odds stacked against the opposition during electioneering. Additionally, there were irregularities that, if corrected, could have affected the results. Nevertheless, she clarified, this cannot be assessed.
"We will know only the truth about what Venezuelans really feel, the day when clean elections are held in Venezuela," she regretted.
She noted that the difference could lie in "a climate of collective intimidation" due to the use of fingerprint-reading machines. CNE insisted on keeping them and they "turned out to be useless." As for the register of voters; "it has not been audited independently, arising serious doubt about reliability."
During a press conference to provide the findings of Súmate election monitoring called "Zero Impunity," Machado explained that a total of 1,365 complaints from volunteers and general public were filed. Almost 70 percent of the reports came from central Miranda state (369), followed by 275 in the Capital District, and 245 in central Carabobo state.
She noted that most cases involved the electoral security and protection operation Plan República, troubles with voting machines, CNE materials, the register of voters and government advantageous position
According to Súmate director Ricardo Estévez, the most frequent complaints related to Plan República included obstructing access of witnesses to the audits, hindering exercise of the right to vote, and ordering re-opening of polling stations.
As for CNE materials, the most serious trouble reported was related to the poor quality of indelible ink, which failed to prevent people from voting more than once. During the operation, Súmate deployed witnesses in 730 polling stations, or 77.6 percent out of the total number, and covered 86 percent of voters.
Translated by Conchita Delgado