Venezuela vote med­dling claims queried

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

QUES­TIONS are be­ing asked about the links be­tween a for­mer Bri­tish min­is­ter of state, a US bil­lion­aire and the Venezue­lan Na­tional Con­stituent As­sem­bly vote count.

Lon­don-based Smart­matic chief ex­ec­u­tive An­to­nio Mug­ica has claimed that the turnout had been tam­pered with.

Mug­ica said it had been in­flated by about a mil­lion votes, but did not elab­o­rate on how the com­pany ar­rived at their con­clu­sion.

Asked why he did not alert the Venezue­lan gov­ern­ment, he said: “I guess we prob­a­bly thought that the author­i­ties would not be sym­pa­thetic to what we had to say.”

The Venezuela’s Na­tional Elec­toral Coun­cil said over 8 mil­lion peo­ple had cast their bal­lots and dis­puted his claims.

Mark Mal­loch-Brown, a min­is­ter of state in the For­eign and Com­mon­wealth of­fice un­der the for­mer UK prime min­is­ter Gor­don Brown is chair­per­son of Smart­matic.

The Bri­tish lord is also chair­per­son of the In­ter­na­tional Cri­sis Group (ICG), which has called for a “tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment” in Venezuela. “Restora­tion of con­sti­tu­tional rule prob­a­bly will re­quire the for­ma­tion of a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity un­der a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able in­terim pres­i­dent,” said a doc­u­ment pub­lished by the or­gan­i­sa­tion last month.

In ad­di­tion, the brief­ing note called for the in­volve­ment of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Amer­i­can States in the sug­gested ne­go­ti­a­tions, which would also in­clude a “tran­si­tional jus­tice” scheme to give gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials “safe pas­sage to ex­ile”.

“Car­rots as well as sticks are needed,” it says.

Formed in the 1990s, the ICG aims “to pre­vent wars and shape poli­cies that will build a more peace­ful world”, through lob­by­ing and “ad­vo­cacy”.

The Wash­ing­ton-based or­gan­i­sa­tion re­ceives most of its funds from North Amer­i­can and Euro­pean gov­ern­ments, as well as pri­vate bod­ies.

Lord Mal­loch-Brown has close links to the Hun­gar­ian-born US bil­lion­aire NGO king­pin Ge­orge Soros, who serves on the board of the ICG, and is one of the group’s main fun­ders through his Open So­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.