Maduro’s Narrow Victory
A Wake-Up Call for Venezuela?
After a short but bitterly fought, insult-laden campaign, Chavista standard-bearer Nicolás Maduro defeated challenger Henrique Capriles, thus assuring continuity in Venezuela after the death of President Hugo Chávez last month. But the election was much closer than the polls predicted: a margin of just 1.6 percentage points, or about 275,000 votes.
Capriles is demanding an audit of 100 percent of all votes; Maduro has apparently agreed. But the audit is unlikely to change the outcome. Unlike in the United States, where in a close election we really don’t know who won, the Venezuelan system is very secure. Since there are two records of every vote (machine and paper ballot), it is nearly impossible to rig the machines and stuff the ballot boxes to match. Jimmy Carter called Venezuela’s electoral system “the best in the world.”