Venezuelan court rules out manual votes counting

Updated: 2013-04-18 15:54


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CARACAS - Manual vote counting is not possible in Venezuela, the president of the Supreme Court said Wednesday amid opposition's request for an audit.

"The electoral system is fully automated, so there is no manual counting. Anyone who thought that could really happen has been deceived," Luisa Estella Morales said at a press conference.

Venezuelan court rules out manual votes counting

Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles hit pots and pans while taking part in a demonstration asking for a recount of the votes in Sunday's election in Caracas April 17, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

Manual counting was canceled in Venezuela by the 1999 constitution, she said, adding the majority of those asking for a manual count know it.

Tensions have been mounting between the government and the opposition after Nicolas Maduro beat opposition challenger Henrique Capriles by a margin of less than 2 percentage points in Sunday's presidential election.

Capriles, alleging irregularities in the polls, rejected the results and demanded a recount of all votes, a call echoed by the United States and the Organization of American States.

In an interview with the local press Noticias 24, the opposition leader said the statement of the Supreme Court president "ignores the reality of the electoral process".

Capriles said the country has a political crisis that can only be resolved by auditing the vote "one to one", pledging if the audit confirms that Nicolas Maduro won, he would not take a "second" to recognize the results.

Maduro, for his part, said late Wednesday that his government fully supports whatever decision made by electoral authorities.

Besides, the head of the supreme court head also said "we invite all citizens who feel unhappy about the election results to resort to legal sources established by the Venezuelan law", accusing the opposition of inciting violence to achieve their goals.

The National Electoral Council on Monday proclaimed Maduro as the new president, prompting violent protests in the South American nation, which have resulted in seven deaths and 61 injuries.

Morales said there would be no impunity in this case, adding 240 people have been investigated, and that the judiciary is functioning normally.