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Venezuela opposition to boycott vote audit

26 April 2013, 12:10

Caracas - Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles announced on Thursday that his movement will boycott an audit of election results because the National Electoral Council did not accept his demand for the examination of registers containing voters' signatures and fingerprints.

Capriles said the opposition will challenge the results of the 14 April presidential vote, narrowly won by Hugo Chavez's political heir, in the Supreme Court and pressure authorities to organise a new election.

The decision came after election officials did not respond to his repeated demands for a complete audit of the election won by President Nicolas Maduro.

The council announced last week that it would allow an audit of 46% of the vote not already audited. It said it would tell the nation this week when it would start comparing vote tallies from each machine with the individual vote receipts from that machine.

"We consider this to be a joke," said Capriles, who contends that the election was stolen from him.

Capriles said he's not optimistic the Supreme Court, which is packed with allies of l Chavez, would overturn results of the election.

"This is a fight for the truth," he said. "This fight is not over."

Preparing a cell

Earlier on Thursday, Capriles called on the council to allow his team to also examine registers containing voters' signatures and fingerprints.

Opposition politician Diego Scharifker said a complete audit would reduce tensions on both sides of Venezuela's political divide.

"The country wants to end the election chapter, but with the truth," Scharifker, a former student leader, said in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press.

As Capriles turned up pressure on the council, Maduro's allies threatened to prosecute him over violence that erupted after the vote.

Iris Varela, an official responsible for overseeing Venezuela's penitentiary system, suggested that Capriles would soon be behind bars.

"We are preparing a cell for you because you must pay for your crimes," Varela said.

Capriles vehemently denies responsibility for isolated acts of violence committed by some of his supporters. On numerous occasions since his narrow election defeat, Capriles has said he's leading "a peaceful struggle" to force the council to agree to a complete audit.

- AP


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