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    final report on 9/11 commission recommendations..., 2005-12-06 12:59:32 | Main | $5 billion a month......, 2005-12-06 14:22:45

    venezuela's election:

    Reportedly 10% of some 5,500 candidates boycotted the elections and parties allied with Chavez swept the legislature. Apparently turnout was around 25%. At State we have this fun exchange:

    QUESTION: Okay. The elections in Venezuela, do you have a reaction to those, please? The overwhelming sweep by Mr. Chavez's party.

    MR. ERELI: Yeah. I'd note that the Organization of American States and European Union both have observer missions that were there for these elections. They have yet to make their reports or make their statements, so I'd hold off on any sort of final assessment until conferring with them.

    At this point, just to make a couple of remarks. First of all, the abstention rate was very high. Second of all, you know, given that rate of abstention, plus expressions of concerns by prominent Venezuelans, we see -- we would see that this reflects a broad lack of confidence in the impartiality and transparency of the electoral process, which is worth noting. And we would certainly look to Venezuela to address the issues of transparency and impartiality for the benefit of Venezuelan democracy.

    QUESTION: Isn't that a bit of a reach? Fifty percent of the people in this country don't vote. You just don't like Venezuela very much.

    MR. ERELI: I think the abstention -- there are about 25 percent participated in this.

    QUESTION: Well, we don't have a terrific turn out here in this country. You're not going to congratulate the winners or anything like that?

    MR. ERELI: Well, again as I said, let's wait to see what the observer missions have to say.

    Turnout here is 50% for presidential elections, and in the mid to high 30s in congressional races. I wouldn't know offhand what's typical for Venezuela, but then we don't know what reason the opposition had for boycotting.

    Here is the EU Election Observation Mission to Venezuela, Parliamentary Elections 2005, Preliminary Statement. We note that their electronic voting machines print paper tickets so the results can be verified. They should, as should we, just be using optical scanners, in my opinion, but the good should not be the enemy of the perfect. Marc Weisbrot appears to have a handle on the opposition's reason for boycotting, worth checking. The OAS doesn't appear to have released any statement yet, but we'll check back later.

    For comparison purposes:

    On Dec. 1, however, after Egyptian police had begun their campaign of arresting candidates and beating voters, spokesman Sean McCormack said the State Department had "not received, at this point, any indication that the Egyptian government isn't interested in having peaceful, free and fair elections."


:: posted by buermann @ 2005-12-06 13:26:40 CST | link





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