In another bizarre act for the process for signature ratification, the legal counsel to the Board of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) presented a draft of regulations which diverged significantly from what had been negotiated in the last two weeks with the opposition.
I guess I continue to be naïve enough about these people, to be surprised at their lack of ethics and scruples. The lawyer who is the chief legal counsel of the CNE seems to at times to have more power than any of the CNE Directors themselves. This is the third or fourth time that he has done exactly the same thing: present an outrageous proposal for regulations that differs from what everyone has been discussing or negotiating, This not only deteriorates the atmosphere for negotiations, but always has so far forced the opposition to negotiate for an agreement at the last minute which is not optimal.
This time around the main problems are two article not considered, discussed or included in any part of the negotiations before:
Artículo 22: Muestra. El Consejo Nacional Electoral tomará una muestra de las huellas dactilares equivalentes al cincuenta por ciento (50%) de los electores que concurrieron a reparar en cada evento y la cotejará con Las huellas estampadas en las planillas de recolección e firmas del evento correspondiente.
This article basically says that 50% of the fingerprints of those ratifying their signature will have to be checked. This not only has never been discussed, but there is no database or technology to do this on time.
And then there this article:
Artículo 23. Dudas y Vacíos. Los supuestos no previstos en las presentes normas, así como las dudas que se generen en su aplicación, serán resueltos por el Consejo Nacional Electoral.
Which says that anything not considered in these regulations will be decided by the CNE. This had in fact been considered and the agreement reached was that of a sudden death: People go and ratify according to the regulations, totals are added up and the same night as the process is closed an announcement is made of the totals, much like it is done in regular elections.
As if this were not enough, CNE Director Jorge Rodriguez gives a press conference saying that they had corrected the noise generated by some initial writing. With this statement Mr. Rodriguez demonstrates how hypocritical and cynical he is. The problems with the two articles quoted above are not with the writing, but with their content. In any serious institutions, where negotiations had been carried out to reach an agreement, the proposal written by the legal counsel of the CNE would have entitled him to being fired on the spot.
Of course, right after Mr. Rodríguez announcement one of the chief Ayacucho clowns William Lara came out asking for guarantees against fraud, talking about some proof of fraud during the Reafirmazo by the opposition. But Laras statements to me are simply an indication that the events of the last twenty four hours are not coincidental and now the pro-Chavez forces will make some noise tomorrow. Such is life in the Vth. Republic!