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Iran Press TV

Venezuela's election turnout figures tampered with: Election company

Iran Press TV

Wed Aug 2, 2017 5:47PM

A voting technology company claims that the turnout figures for Sunday's vote for the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela have been manipulated.

Venezuela's National Electoral Council said over eight million Venezuelans had participated in the vote to elect a powerful new congress, which will be allowed to rewrite the constitution and can dissolve the current opposition-led legislature.

But Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica said on Wednesday that the turnout officially announced by authorities was inflated by at least one million.

"It is with the deepest regret that we have to report that the turnout numbers on Sunday 30th July for the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela were tampered with," Mugica said at a news briefing in London.

When asked why he had not contacted Venezuelan authorities, Mugica said he thought they "would not be sympathetic" to his comments.

The international software company provided nearly 24,000 machines for Venezuelans to cast their votes electronically.

He said the company's system had recorded the correct number of voters but authorities announced the altered results instead. However, he declined to give the precise figure, saying a full audit would have to take place.

While Venezuela's old allies, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russia, supported the Sunday vote for the formation of the new 545-member body, the United States, the European Union, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Canada and Peru denounced the vote, saying the Constituent Assembly can destroy the Venezuelan democracy and institutionalize autocracy there.

The Sunday elections took place amid a wave of clashes and violence, with protesters attacking polling stations and barricading streets.

The opposition, which had already boycotted the vote, rejected the election results as sham and called for further anti-government protests against the new assembly.

The unrest led to the engagement of anti-government protesters and security forces in street battles as voting was underway, leaving at least 10 people dead and bringing the death toll from four months of protest rallies to more than 120.

President Nicolas Maduro has on several occasions touted the planned rewriting of the constitution as necessary for resolving the widening political crisis in the impoverished but oil-rich country, saying that reforms would help the nation through the current economic crisis.

He blames the crisis in the country on the United States, saying Washington has incited the opposition.

'Iran backs democratic processes in Venezuela'

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Wednesday expressed his country's support for "democratic processes originating from the Venezuelan nation's resolve that would solve the country's current issues in a peaceful and legal way."

Qassemi expressed hope that the recent election in Venezuela would restore stability and peace and pave the way for national dialogue and reconciliation in the Latin American country.

He underlined the need for respecting other countries' sovereignty and independence within the framework of international law.

The Iranian official also rejected unilateral US sanctions against Venezuela, saying "using sanctions as a tool to exert pressure on independent countries and nations to undermine and break their resolve is a futile and inefficient move."

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