Saturday, May 12, 2007

If Venezuelans elections were as efficient as French ones (again a post!)

Reading this morning Le Monde I come across a very meaningful result. The constitutional council of France proclaimed Sarkozy president elect, but it also announced the final results INCLUDING the ballots that had been annulled for some reason. In other words it announced the ballots that could potentially force a new election in a given district.

In 64 000 voting centers 4 589 votes were annulled after the first round and only 826 after the second round. Obviously this could be enough to force a new vote if we were discussing a local election, but since we are discussing a margin of victory officially now at 53.06% representing 18 983 138 votes, obviously the election will not be run again (1% of the vote, which would not even perturb the final result represent more than 350 000 votes, to the 826 annulled).

We must thus be thoroughly impressed at the speed at which France counts its paper ballots, and settles its major claims. From memory I can recall that during legislative elections were such amount of votes disputed could affect the result in a given district, we rarely have more than 4-5 seats out of the near 600 of the National Assembly that must go back to a the ballot. These decisions are usually taken within the couple of months that follow the general election and that is that for the rest of the term.

Contrast that with Venezuela where to have the final result of an election we must wait sometimes for weeks (even though the victor is proclaimed if the CNE decides that the margin of victory will not be altered by the final exact result). But some claims have been able to force for new elections event though such decisions sometimes took years, to the point that they were not decided by the time the new regularly scheduled election comes. That is, there are people who might not have deserved to be elected in the first place but who still served a full term!!!!! No wonder trust in democracy is eroded in Venezuela.

But when all is said and done, these are only details. The real problem in Venezuela is that too many people do not trust the voting system. Even if some complacent polls show that the CNE benefits of approval ratings as high as 70%, they are meaningless because any voting system in any country of the world must be at the very least trusted by 95% of tis people (there will always be people who do not trust the voting system but these people are frequently associated with anarchists or other minority groups who have no democratic inclination to begin with).

So of course the unaccountable delays that the CNE constantly exhibits are a long way to bolster the trust people have in them. I, personally, have zero confidence in the CNE and do not trust ANY EXACT result that it gives. I can accept that Chavez indeed won last December but I have a hard time believing the percentile announce by the CNE. And this will remain so until the CNE board is finally proven to be independent instead of being 99% chavista, and until we go back to ballot counting, even if the voting act by itself is done with a machine. There is nothing best than actual ballots counted. If you do not agree with me look at the French people: except for some "banlieus", everybody now accepts Sarkozy president and everyone now is preparing for legislative elections. They moved on, confident in the law of their land. Here in Venezuela the debate as to whether to vote or not to vote is stronger as ever. But then again that is what Chavez wants, to establish his brand of regime on the back of abstention, the best way to kill democracy.

-The end-

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