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Held: Venezuela back on the road to the recall referendum

By Aleksander Boyd

London 16 Mar. 04 – Yesterday’s decision by the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court is a huge step towards the recall referendum. Expectedly, the chavista camp will not rest on its laurels and most certainly will dispute it producing all sorts of arguments against the ruling . In order to call future bluffs off I have translated the Court’s ruling for future reference.

Held; the constitutional appeal presented on behalf of Julio Borges, Henry Ramos Allup, Cesar Perez Vivas, Ramon Jose Medina, Jorge Sucre Castillo and Gerardo Blyde by attorneys Jesús Cristóbal Rangel Rachadell and Juan Carlos Caldera López. As a result this Court:

1. Suspends the provisions contained in the “Instructions given to the Electoral Technical Superior Committee with respect to signatures or forms containing similar calligraphy” and also strikes contents of Resolution No 040302-131 issued on March 2 2004 by the National Electoral Council.

2. Orders the National Electoral Council to ignore: a) section H of the Resolution No 040302-131 issued on March 2 2004 whereby 876.017 signatures were deemed irregular and b) “Instructions given to the Electoral Technical Superior Committee with respect to signatures or forms containing similar calligraphy” (both impugned) which places the burden of the proof on the electorate, requesting voters to ratify their will vis-à-vis the recall referendum (denominated negative repair).

3. Accords to include or add to the signatures already verified by the National Electoral Council (according to section E of Resolution No 040302-131 issued on March 2 2004) which amount to 1.832.493, the 876.017 viewed as having similar calligraphy under section H of the said Resolution. Such addition equals 2.708.510 valid signatures. In virtue of said sum this Chamber orders the National Electoral Council to apply repairing procedures as established in Art. 31 of the “Norms to Regulate Recall Referenda Processes” with the finality that those citizens who affirm that they did not sign request their exclusion from the process.

4. Orders - based in sections 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Art 4 of the “Norms and Validation Criteria for Signatures and Forms Requesting Recall Referenda”- the National Electoral Council to include in the repair process to be organized those electors who signed in the 39.060 forms that have been invalidated already by the Board.

5. Orders the National Electoral Council to organize the repair process in the lapse established in Art 31 of the “Norms to Regulate Recall Referenda Processes” and should 20% of forms deemed as invalid result otherwise start the recall referendum referred herein in the lapse contemplated in Art 33 of said Norms.



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