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Venezuelan presidential election marked by empty precincts, irregularities

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Caracas, May 21 (IANS) The Venezuelan presidential election was marked by a lack of voters at many polling places and reports of irregularities by the main adversaries of President Nicolas Maduro, who is running for re-election.

In Caracas and in the country’s interior areas, streets were vacant while only a few of the observed precincts had lines of voters waiting to cast ballots on Sunday, in marked contrast to previous presidential elections, Efe news reported.

Among the differences between Sunday’s election and past votes was the fact that the main opposition MUD alliance decided not to field a presidential candidate and to call for abstention by voters, a call that seems to have been heeded by many people.

Many members of the public decided, it seems, to head to local parks with their children, but many people did line up at stores and pharmacies trying to buy scarce food or medicines.

Meanwhile, Maduro’s two main rivals — former Governor Henri Falcon and former evangelical pastor Javier Bertucci charged that hundreds of violations of electoral law had been committed, including the "buying of votes" by Maduro’s campaign.

Bertucci said that he had 1,400 "documented" campaign violations and "hundreds of videos" that he will turn over to reporters.

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