Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Endnotes: The Post-Chávez Challenge and Electoral Legitimacy

Below are the endnotes from “The Limits of Legacy: The Post-Chávez Challenge and Electoral Legitimacy” by Michael McCarthy and Jennifer McCoy (Summer 2013 AQ.)

  1. The constitution declares that if a president-elect becomes incapacitated before his inauguration, the president of the National Assembly becomes interim president and a new election is called within 30 days.  If a president becomes permanently incapacitated in the first four years of the six-year term, the vice-president (which is an appointed position in Venezuela) becomes interim-president and a new election is called within 30 days to fulfill the remainder of the presidential term.  The Supreme Court thus had two issues to decide: a) was the president incapacitated; and b) must he be physically present for his inauguration.  They did not rule on the first, and the government argued that he was still governing from his sick-bed in Cuba.  On the second, the Court decided that in the case of a re-elected president, the succeeding term was simply an “administrative continuity” rather than a separate mandate, and thus the same appointed officers (vice-president and ministers) would continue in their roles and the president need not be physically present for a formal swearing-in. The opposition disputed the ruling, arguing that the language of “administrative continuity” is not in the Constitution. 
  2. A few rural votes and the international vote were not yet tabulated.  With those votes included the following day, the gap closed to only a 1.49% difference.
  3. El Sol de Margarita, April 24, 2013; http://www.elsoldemargarita.com.ve/site/246631/nueve-fallecidos-y-78-lesionados-por-hechos-del-15-de-abril
  4. http://www.uniore.org/Documentos/EleccionesVenezuela.aspx
  5. UNASUR, April 15, 2013, http://www.unasursg.org/inicio/centro-de-noticias/archivo-de-noticias/declaraci%C3%B3n-de-la-misi%C3%B3n-electoral-de-la-unasur.
  6. OAS, April 15, 2013, http://www.oas.org/en/media_center/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-138/13
  7. Neuman, New York Times, April 17, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/world/americas/kerry-encourages-recount-in-venezuela.html.
  8. The CNE had indicated to the Carter Center that it could not respond to a political request made during speeches, but could respond to complaints submitted through the formal channels.
  9. Of a total of 39,018 voting tables, the complaint reported that 21,563 had some kind of problem with the tally sheets (actas).  The vast majority of these (20,277) were missing the hand-written transcription of the number of voters from the manual voter list to the actas, thus preventing the MUD from knowing whether a nullifiable offense occurred under Art 219 of the electoral law –discrepancy between number of voters and number of votes.  The MUD additionally reported that 720 tally sheets had a different result from the count of paper receipts in the citizens verification the night of the election, but they did not indicate the size of that inconsistency, and the post-election audit by MUD and PSUV technicians of a small statistical sample, as well as the large phase 2 audit conducted by the CNE reported zero error (i.e. no more than 1 vote discrepancy per table).   Moreover, the electoral law says that the paper receipts do not have legal basis.  Perhaps more relevant to the MUD’s complaint was the request to nullify 5,279  voting tables based on Art 217, which includes as nullifiable offenses violence against voting table officials that could affect the vote, intimidation or coercion of voters that force them to vote or not vote against their will, or actions by voting officials that would infringe on voting guarantees.  Unfortunately, the electoral law does not specify how to certify this type of offense.
  10. We are unaware of any public report from Maduro’s campaign regarding the election’s quality.
  11. Informe Final Observación Elecciones Presidenciales, 14 de Abril de 2013: http://www.oevenezolano.org/images/OEV%20PRESIDENCIALES%202013%20INFORME.pdf
  12. “Obama backs rise in US gas exports.” Financial Times. May 5, 2013:  http://www.npr.org/2013/05/15/184132956/revolutions-unfold-within-oil-industry; http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5af31212-b59e-11e2-a51b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2SWF53BU6
  13. In June 2012, respected polling firm Datánlisis found the CNE as the best rated public institution in terms of its performance for the good of the country—62.6% signaled a positive view of its performance. Participation in the October 2012 election marked a record, 80.49%, and reached another high, 79.68%, in the elections this past April.
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