Caracas, May 24, 2004- In the framework of the invitation from the National Electoral Council (CNE) and the Venezuelan government, The Organization of the American States (OAS) and The Carter Center have observed the first phase of the reparos (signature repair) process for the recall referenda on representatives of the National Assembly.
According to reports from the members of the joint mission, the first round of the reparos process was carried out in an environment of normalcy and tranquility, without incidents or irregularities that would affect the normal development of the process. The procedures designed by the electoral authority for the execution of this phase were fully complied with, as the centers opened in the proper places, the material was distributed correctly and in a timely manner, and the computer data assistance and transmission system worked adequately.
We wish to highlight that the reparos agents, as well as the witnesses, representing both the government and the opposition, demonstrated that they were adequately prepared to perform their tasks, maintaining at all times a climate of cooperation and understanding. A large percentage of both the reparos agents and the witnesses arrived punctually to perform their tasks. The joint mission congratulates all the citizens that have collaborated in this effort.
In no case were incidents of intimidation and/or violence reported, either at the reparos centers or in their vicinity, and the process flowed adequately, without interruptions or hindrances of any kind. The deployed military personnel, in the framework of the Plan Republic, performed their tasks with professionalism, complying with the objective of providing security for the process.
On the other hand, many complaints were received from citizens who came forward to check their signatures but whose signatures did not appear in any of the different categories of the reparo notebooks.
In order to perform its task, the joint mission deployed approximately 40 international observers in the states where reparos were held, covering a total of 412 centers, which represents approximately 93% the centers established.
The mission observes that the closing tally sheets (actas) from the centers, used to compile the results, have still not arrived at the CNE headquarters. We hope the flow of information normalizes so that the CNE can comply with the specified deadlines. The joint mission will also observe the results totaling process.
Finally, the joint mission congratulates the electoral authorities, the promoters of the recall referenda, and the Venezuelan people for the peace and tranquility that characterized this first phase of the reparos process, and the mission hopes that this positive climate and the high level of organization by the CNE are maintained during the next phase of reparos.