Venezuela votes tampered

Venezuela votes tampered
The voting company that assisted Venezuela in its recent election has said that final tally has been inflated. The government had called for an..

The voting company that assisted Venezuela in its recent election has said that final tally has been inflated.

The government had called for an election on July 30, to elect members for its constituent assembly. The country’s Attorney General has signaled that an investigation has begun probing into this matter.

Background

Since 2013, the Venezuelan economy has been on a steady decline. A rise in inflation, along with severe shortages of basic foods has resulted in a multitude of problems for its citizens. The drop in the oil prices has also affected it significantly as much of its economy depends on the oil industry. Reports have emerged of its citizens starving and there being a shortage of medicines in the region. Hospitals no longer have enough space to treat patients.

Against this backdrop, there have been deadly protests that have taken place in the country. Over a 100 have already died in 2017 due to outbreak of violence.

Analysis

Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan President had called for a vote for a new body called the constituent assembly. The body will have 545 members and it will have the power to draft a new constitution. Maduro’s critics have said that he’s attacking the country’s democracy and would become a de-facto dictator.

According to the data released by the government, the turnout for the July 30 elections was at 41.53%, or 8,089,320 people. Opposition believed that the numbers were doctored and the final tally was perhaps closer to 2 to 3 million. 

Antonio Mugica, the chief executive of Smartmatic, has come forward alleging that the numbers projected by the government are not accurate. Smartmatic has been working with Venezuelan government since 2004 on its voting system. Mugica said, “We know, without any doubt, that the turnout of the recent election for a national constituent assembly was manipulated. We estimate the difference between the actual participation and the one announced by authorities is at leas+t 1m votes.”

Maduro has disputed this claim and has blamed UK and US for the development. He said, “The stupid president of Smartmatic, under pressure from the United States and the United Kingdom, now says only 7.5 million people voted. I say it was more than 10 million.”

Meanwhile, the country’s AG, Luisa Ortega Diaz, has confirmed that an investigation has begun on this possible voter fraud.

Assessment

Our assessment is that amidst heightened political tensions, Maduro has to prove beyond a doubt that the numbers weren’t doctored or he will lose the trust to enforce his agenda. Over 40 countries have already condemned the new assembly (with the exception of China) and hence he does not have the backing of the international community either. This also proves just how vulnerable electronic voting machines are to getting tampered.  

Comments