Alwaght- The Venezuelan election board announced the presidential vote results earlier this week, igniting a debate at home and abroad as the incumbent president Nicolas Maduro was re-elected for the post.
Tibisay Lucena, the head of the National Election Council, at the time of announcement said that the council counted 92.6 of the votes, adding that according to the outcome, Maduro was re-elected as the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. NEC’s chief put the turnout rate at 46.1 percent, adding that Maduro gained 5,823,817 votes, followed by the opposition candidate Henry Falcon who Lucena said drew 1,820,522 votes.
On the heels of the results announcement, Falcon and another opposition candidate, Javier Bertucci, challenged the outcome and said they will not recognize Maduro’s victory. The US Secretary of State and a series of other countries said they will not recognize the presidential results in the Latin American nation.
The controversy has triggered some questions: How does the international community see the Venezuelan polls? Why do some foreign states dispute the result? Where do the things go in Venezuela now that Maduro is re-elected? In an interview with the former Iranian ambassador to Venezuela, Ahmad Sobhani, Alwaght has sought answers to the questions.
The election was standard and legitimate
Expressing his assessment of the May 20 presidential election, Mr Sobhani believes that the country witnessed an acceptable turnout of the people who gave Maduro 68 percent of their votes. He said that the election is electronic and the citizens have to attend the registration stations and so on the day of the election, it will be clear how many votes a single polling station will receive.
“What is clear is that the vote manipulation is impossible to a large extent. The 46 percent turnout is an acceptable rate. This can be proven if we look back at the elections in other countries. For example, in Azerbaijan’s 2010 election only 49 percent of the eligible voters cast their ballots. In the US 2012 election, this was 57 percent. And in 2011 in Portugal, the rate was 46 percent. In Switzerland, the parliamentary election only drew 49 percent of the eligible citizens, and in Colombia 43 percent. If some countries like the US are challenging its legitimacy, they are politically-motivated. Washington recognizes such government as Saudi Arabia, where there is no election, but questions the legitimacy in a country that held its polls legally.”
Maduro still has the Venezuelans’ trust
Commenting on the messages Maduro re-election sends, the former Iranian diplomat in Venezuelan held that despite all of the problems the Venezuelans underwent over the past years, over 46 of the voters favored him and he won with 68 percent. This means that with all of the troubles, a major part of the society sill trusts him.
The US does not want anti-Washington government in Caracas
Mr Sobhani shed light on the reason driving the American disputing of the result, noting: “Venezuela is one of the oldest nations in Latin America, the same region Washington designated as its backyard after Monroe Doctrine was announced by US president James Monroe in early 19th century. The country has the biggest oil reserves. It also has significant water, diamond, gold, and minerals reserves. The fact is that it is hard for the Americans not to have under their control such immense natural resources and wealth and so is for them to see leaders in this country who openly and officially oppose the American policies on the world stage. This is highly annoying for the Americans and they cannon come to terms with it. So, they strongly reject Maduro’s re-election.”
Washington does not seek dialogue with Venezuela government
The expert in Latin American affairs had his say on the Nicolas Maduro’s offer for talks to the Americans, saying the Venezuelan leaders’ invitation of the Americans for negotiations is not something new.
“If well look at Cuba, a country with the stronger revolutionary background than Venezuela, we can see that Havana leaders never refused to go to talks with the US. But it was the Americans who by their constant violations spoiled the chances of dialogue. Venezuela has never closed the doors to talks and kept a level of relations with the US. For example, Venezuela operates 15,000 petrol stations and 8 oil refineries in the US. Moreover, we have many flights from Caracas to the US. So, the US government does not want to seek negotiations and instead resorts to pressure to make the Venezuelan government bow to its demands.”
Venezuela will improve economically and politically in the future
Asked about his view of the future for Venezuela after the election, the former Iranian representative to the Latin American nation maintained: “Venezuela is a deeply bipolarized nation and what we see today is a result of years of oppression put by the higher classes on the lower ones. Even many citizens do not have ID cards and are living in the poorest conditions. Now we see the low class is in majority and supporting the government of Maduro. On the opposite side stand the higher and middle classes. They are a minority now. It appears that the political and economic conditions will head to a boost in the future with regard to the government’s initiatives and rallying oil prices.”