Due to the holidays and to our thematic week on Cyprus’ EU Presidency, it is only now that we can publish the second newsletter of the Venezuelan Student Movement watching the Venezuelan electoral process.
The following report summarizes the most important developments regarding the elections of the first and second week of July (Monday 2nd – Tuesday 18th).
We will publish the third newsletter immediately tomorrow. If you missed the first one, click here.
1. Violations to the current electoral regulations
According to the Research Center on Communications of the Andrés Bello Catholic University (CIC-UCAB), the Electoral Processes Law was violated on 416 occasions in the first week of the presidential campaign; candidate Hugo Chávez a total of 217 times (52.2%), opposition candidate Henrique Capriles and his group 165 times (39.6%) and the National Electoral Council (CNE) 34 times (8.2%). (1)
2. Electoral Agreement
2.1 Proposal by the Capriles Campaign Team (“Comando Venezuela”)
Leopoldo López, Comando Venezuela national coordinator, presented to the CNE a proposal entitled Agreement for Electoral Balance and Justice. The proposal is based on on the following six (6) points:
The candidates agree to accept the result of a transparent electoral process that reflects the will of the people.
The incumbent agrees to refrain from using his presidential prerogative to address the nation using the nationwide radio and TV network except when an exceptional situation justifies it.
Public funds shall not be used for the presidential campaign, nor will the mandatory public information service contemplated in the Law on the Social Responsibility of Radio and Television be used to transmit electoral propaganda.
State (Public) buildings and offices, both physical and digital, shall not be used for electoral propaganda.
All rules contemplated in the Electoral Processes Norms and all decisions issued by the CNE shall be respected.
Candidates shall be guaranteed all conditions necessary to move freely in the entire national territory and to freely display their political material and messages peacefully.
“We want an inclusive electoral process, in which the branches of the State do what they have to do, where the police and the Armed Forces focus on fulfilling their duty… we want an electoral process free from the abuse of power and the manipulation of public employees”, explained López, adding that Comando Venezuela would be willing to establish a dialogue table with the President’s campaign team. (2)
2.1.2 Statement by president Chávez on the proposal made by “Comando Venezuela”
Since the beginning of the presidential campaign president Chavez has addressed the nation for xxxxx hours. Referring to opposition statements regarding the unfair electoral advantage he derives from abusing his presidential prerogative of addressing the nation in exceptionally important circumstances, president Chávez labeled them “stupid”, given, he said, that “they are part of his constitutional rights as a ruler.” He also declared he would not accept the proposed pact by the opposition. (3)
2.2 CNE Agreement
The CNE summoned the presidential candidates to sign Tuesday 17th a document entitled Commitment for Democracy based on the following three (3) points:
To act in strict compliance with the Constitution, the laws and the electoral normative that guides the electoral process.
To recognize the results of the CNE, which is the sole legitimate and competent authority in the October 7 presidential elections, and which are the finest expression of sovereignty by the Venezuelan people, as expressed in elections.
Compete in a climate of respect, peace and democratic participation in order to ensure that during the electoral campaign, on October 7 and in the following days the will of the Venezuelan people is not affected by acts of violence or nay act threatening the wellbeing of the nation.
President Chávez voiced his support of the CNE text, adding he would sign it as it was “an excellent proposal”. Henrique Capriles described the agreement as “incomplete”.
In representation of the MUD ( the democratic opposition alliance), Enrique Márquez signed the agreement expressing his dissatisfaction as “it should be explicit regarding the mandatory nationwide addresses, the 10 minute usage of the Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Electronic Media Law, and public resources”.
3. CNE report on both candidates incidence in the media (excluding transmissions compulsory by law)
Transmitted political spots: 227.
Hugo Chávez: 118 minutes on the air. (54.2%)
Henrique Capriles: 110 minutes on the air. (45.8%)
4. Electoral campaign
4.1 Bolivarian National Police barricade
Last Saturday, July 7th, a barricade formed by the Bolivarian National Police blocked presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski’s on his way h to the parish of La Vega, a populous poor sector in western Caracas, where he planned to make a visit as part of his electoral campaign. The candidate could not continue his route and the activity had to be cancelled. Statements by government officials and opposition representatives are presented below:“Yesterday in La Vega an event that demonstrates the plan of the opposition to destabilize the country took place, because where they go, violence follows. They were armed and without permission. They’re violent and aggressive”. (Declaration made by President Hugo Chávez, candidate for reelection, during a swearing in ceremony for new officers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB). (4)
“By instruction of the Interior and Justice minister, Tareck El Aissami, a restriction was imposed which violates the legal normative. This activity had been duly notified”. Leopoldo López, national coordinator of the Capriles Campaing Team. (5)
4.2 Capriles, Chávez and the Venezuelan Armed Forces
Last July 13th, candidate Capriles denounced the prohibition to disseminate a televised message directed to the Armed Forces. Several spokesmen from the ruling party (PSUV) accused the Comando Venezuela team (opposition) of forging the document, which candidate Capriles denied. (6) In response to the opposition candidate’s approach to the Armed Forces, president and candidate, Hugo Chávez, affirmed, on July 18th that the Armed Forces are “Bolivarian, revolutionary, socialist and chavistas.”. (7)
The survey company Datanálisis released this past Monday the results of its latest study regarding electoral tendencies. According to Datanálisis, President Hugo Chávez leads by 15.3 points over Henrique Capriles Radonski and the undecided represent 23.1% of the voters. Both candidates, says this company, increased in the percentages related to the intention to vote. Chávez went from 43.6% to 46.1% and Capriles went from 27.7% to 30.8%. (8) “Consultores 21”, another serious polling company, gave a slight advantage to Chávez (46%) over Capriles (45%), noting also that Capriles’ popularity has risen in the last few weeks. (9)
6. Previous report
From the news of the previous report the following have been updated: