Despite a high level of election transparency, one that Jimmy Carter called “the best in the world”, the US and its allies have accused Venezuela of election fraud. Caleb Maupin breaks down how Venezuela’s electoral system really works.
by Caleb T. Maupin
The State Department has announced that the United States, unlike Russia and China, will not recognize the results of Venezuela’s May 20 election. Canada and a few Latin American allies of the U.S. joined in rejecting the results.
The vote re-elected Nicolas Maduro to a second six-year presidential term. Maduro, who won a solid majority of 67 percent of votes cast, is a former bus driver and labor activist, and leads the United Socialist Party (PSUV). He ran on a platform of continuing the “Bolivarian Revolution,” a process launched by his predecessor Hugo Chavez, named in honor of South American independence fighter Simon Bolivar. The stated goal of the Bolivarian process is to bring Venezuela toward “21st Century Socialism.”
A few well-known anti-government activists in Venezuela were barred from participating. Henrique Capriles, a previous presidential candidate from the Democratic Roundtable (MUD) was barred for misappropriating campaign funds for personal use. Leopoldo Lopez, another well-known opposition figure, was barred after being convicted of inciting violence and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Major opposition parties Justice First, Popular Will, and Democratic Action urged voters to boycott the election, after the failure of negotiations with the government following its Constituent Assembly.
The main opposition to Maduro in the presidential race came from Henri Falcon. Falcon ran from the Progressive Advance Party, and received roughly 21 percent of the vote. Falcon calls himself a socialist and is a former member of the PSUV who left to join the opposition in 2012. Falcon accused Maduro of mismanagement of the economic crisis, and argued that Venezuela should drop its independent currency, adopt the U.S. dollar, and join the International Monetary Fund in order to receive emergency funds to resolve the crisis.
Javier Bertucci, a well-known evangelical Christian minister, also ran for president, receiving about 10 percent of the vote.