Maduro victory stands despite audit

AFP-JIJI

A top election official warned the opposition Saturday against raising “false expectations” over an audit of Venezuela’s presidential election, saying it cannot overturn President Nicolas Maduro’s win.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles accepted the expanded audit in lieu of a vote-by-vote recount on the eve of Maduro’s swearing-in Friday, helping to ease tensions that had led to eight deaths in postelection protests.

Capriles on Saturday said his campaign, which announced it had formed a team to act as witnesses to the audit, is preparing for a protracted challenge to the results of the April 14 elections but expressed confidence that the truth will prevail.

But Sandra Oblitas, the vice president of the National Election Council, said the audit cannot change the outcome of the election, and the result can only be challenged before the Supreme Court. “It is not the audit that is going to produce a different result,” she said.

Oblitas said that the review, which is to take 30 days, will involve comparisons of paper receipts of electronic votes casts with the electronic tallies, while Capriles and his aides indicated they will be seeking other voting records as well.