Latin America

Venezuela’s electoral council to audit 46 percent of votes


Venezuela’s electoral council has announced its decision to audit 46 percent of the votes cast during the country’s Sunday presidential election, following the opposition’s calls for a recount of votes.

Electoral council president Tibisay Lucena announced the decision on Thursday.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who had previously demanded a full vote-by-vote recount, has accepted the decision about partial auditing of the votes.

The council will start auditing the results of 400 machines per day as of next week, in a process that will probably take one month.

Electoral council’s announcement came a day after Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled out a recount of the country’s disputed presidential vote, saying there is no legal basis for the opposition’s push for a vote-by-vote recount.

Socialist Nicolas Maduro was declared the winner of Venezuela’s presidential election on April 14. He won 50.7 percent of the vote against 49.1 percent for the opposition candidate, a difference of 235,000 ballots.

Capriles said he did not recognize the official results, claiming that there were more than 300,000 incidents from Sunday’s poll that would need to be examined.

Since the electoral authority declared Maduro the winner, the opposition has staged several violent protests, which has left at least seven people dead and over 60 others injured.

Capriles canceled a planned protest march for Wednesday after Maduro vowed he would not allow the rally to go ahead.

On March 8, Maduro became Venezuela’s acting president, following the death of late President Hugo Chavez, who lost a two-year-long battle with cancer on March 5. Maduro has promised to continue the socialist policies of the former leader.

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