Maduro has won today’s presidential election, securing his position as President of the Republic until 2025.
At a press conference held at 6:00 PM, the Frente Amplio–the country’s opposition coalition–said that voter turnout had not reached 30%. Shortly before 9:30 PM, Reuters cited a source inside the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) as saying that the turnout was 32.3%.
By comparison, the lowest turnout in a presidential election over the past 30 years came in 2000, when only 56% of voters cast ballots.
Shortly before 10:30 PM, the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), the regime’s electoral body, issued its official results:
- Nicolas Maduro (Winner): 5,823,728 votes
- Henri Falcon: 1,820,552
- Javier Bertucci: 925,042 votes
Today’s low voter turnout is likely connected to the results of the July 30 Constituent Assembly, which the regime outright falsified according to the company that provided the voting machines for the election. Whereas the Maduro government–and that of Chavez before him–had long been accused of organizing unfair elections, the Constituent Assembly vote was the first undeniable indication that the regime was willing to go to the extreme to win an election.
Henri Falcon, the highest-profile candidate running against Maduro, held a press conference at around 9:45 PM in which he said he would not recognize the results of the election, citing a host of irregularities. In a move that is virtually guaranteed to receive no attention from the regime, Falcon also called for new presidential elections to take place in October.
Official Figures Contradicted By Evidence
Social media users posted thousands of pictures throughout the day showing the same images all around the country: desolate voting centres, with handfuls of people–if any–waiting in line to cast their ballots.
The empty streets and voting centres represented a loud repudiation of Maduro’s desperate pleas over during the presidential campaign for people to go vote today. Maduro sank as low as making vague promises of “gifts” to people who voted today, and begged Venezuela to give him 10 million votes in today’s election.
Somewhere in Barinas state, this whole street was blocked in the vicinity of a voting centre, presumably in anticipation of large crowds. However, the centre was desolate throughout the day:
Girish Gupta, a journalist formerly with Reuters who covered Venezuela, posted the following message on his Twitter account:
In Caracas, the areas of 23 de enero, Catia and Propatria, once chavista strongholds, were also devoid of voters:
Below, images of empty voting centres in Nueva Esparta state:
In Lara state, a voting centre in the Cabudare municipality was completely empty at 11:27 AM:
The video below shows the area around a voting centre in the Palo Verde area of Caracas with approximately one dozen voters:
In the La Fria municipality of Tachira state, the streets around the voting centres were completely empty of voters in the mid-morning:
Few Voters Met with Irregularities
Even Venezuelans who did want to vote faced irregularities when they attempted to do so. Luz Mely Reyes, the head of the Efecto Cocuyo news website, said in a message posted on her Twitter account that when she attempted to vote in the Andres Bello High School voting centre in Caracas, she found out that someone had already voted under her name. Below, Luz Mely’s message:
Luz Mely Reyes: I went out to vote, and I want to tell you that when I went to put my fingerprint on my line [corresponding to her name], there was already a fingerprint there. This happened at table number eight in the Andres Bello High School voting centre. I told the worker that this was an irregularity, and they said that they had reported it. Still, I want to denounce this publicly.
This place is desolate. As a citizen, as a journalist, and as a person who always believed in voting, it pains me deeply to see that they have stripped the vote of any meaning. This is very sad and pitiful for Venezuelan democracy.
The video below shows a group of people on motorcycles near a voting centre in the Chacao municipality in Caracas. The reporter says that the people were honking and chanting pro-regime slogans just meters away from the voting centre:
Even though voting centres were supposed to close at 6:00 PM, at 6:23 PM the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) had not given the order to do so.
“Puntos Rojos” Go for Voter Intimidation
Today’s election featured puntos rojos [red points], stands run by regime activities often set up just steps away from voting centres. At the puntos rojos, voters were expected to check-in using their carnet de la patria [Fatherland Card[, an identification card issued by the PSUV.
The point of the puntos rojos is to intimidate voters into participating in today’s election or risk losing social benefits tied to their carnet de la patria. Andy Rosati, a journalist stationed in Venezuela, said that puntos rojos were present outside 96% of the voting centres in the country.
Below, footage from a punto rojo in the Palavecino municipality of Lara state:
Keren Torres: 7:40 AM. Grupo Escolar Cabudare [voting centre], in the Palavecino municipality in Lara state. This punto rojo is just a few meters away, and this is where people who have just voted come to scan their carnet de la patria. They hope to get some kind of gift, as promised by president Nicolas Maduro.
From Lara state for El Pitazo, Keren Torres Bravo.
Throughout the day, it became apparent that there were more people lining up at puntos rojos hoping to remain on the good side of the regime than there were voting. The reporter who recorded the video below taken in the Petare area of Caracas made that observation:
Reporter: In the Manuel Aguirre [voting centre] in La Bombilla, there is a [red point] for scanning the carnet de la patria, which is handed out by the Venezuelan government. As you can see, there are more people lined up [at the red point] than at the voting centre, which opened at 6:00 AM. At this moment, no more than 200 people have come to vote here.
The existence of these points does not affect the voting process at all.
Jose Luis Zapatero Met by Angry Crowd
Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero was in Venezuela today to witness the election. Zapatero, who has played a central role in getting the ruling PSUV party and the opposition to hold unsuccessful rounds of talks, was met by a large and hostile crowd as he left a voting centre in Caracas today:
Zapatero is a largely reviled figure in Venezuela, since he is generally seen to work on the side of the Maduro regime.
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