In a speech to the Organization of American States (OAS), the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela, Tibisay Lucena, presented the electoral system’s achievements. A few of the advances made by Venezuela’s electoral branch over the past ten years include the fact that over two million people registered to vote in the Permanent Electoral Registry (REP) and that 100% of the voting process is now automated.
“The security and transparency offered by the CNE is based on diverse mechanisms that are used to guarantee that the voting system cannot be violated. Furthermore, security is based on a series of audits done to the electoral system in each of its phases,” Lucena highlighted during her OAS speech in Washington D.C.
Lucena emphasized that the CNE has established and implemented its development based on the policies and principles of sovereignty and inclusion, stressing the increase in voting centers throughout Venezuela. “In 1998 there were about 8,000 voting centers. These increased to over 11,000 for 2009 with the establishment of new centers in rural areas,” she said.
For Lucena, who in 2005 was elected president of the CNE, this organization has a new electoral culture that prioritizes the human aspect in order to deepen democracy. She explained policies implemented by the institution that aim for gender equality and that place an emphasis on indigenous communities. “I have to make a special mention of a measure taken in 2008 relating to gender equity that obliges political organizations to have parity and man-woman alternation when it comes to selecting candidates. Regarding indigenous peoples, 85 political organizations have been registered in the [CNE]; we have created more voting centers within indigenous communities and election material is translated into 10 indigenous languages with the goal of doing so for each indigenous language,” she noted.
During a meeting with international media, Lucena indicated the various elements that guarantee transparency in the Venezuelan electoral process. “The audits undertaken at each phase of the process represent the most important validation since it features the participation of CNE technicians and Venezuelan political organizations. Another very important element has been that during the last decade over 2,000 international representatives have participated as observers in elections that have taken place in the country; they have filed reports certifying the transparency of electoral processes in Venezuela,” Lucena emphasized.
Responding to a journalist’s question about election results being released at different times, Lucena clarified that the CNE can only release results once there are no people voting and only if the results show irreversible trends. In that sense, the CNE president stressed the agency’s efficiency in publishing official results in a timely manner.
Lucena also noted the communications strategy implemented by the CNE over the past years, highlighting that as a result of this strategy, voter abstention rates have fallen since 2005.
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / March 19, 2009