Venezuelan opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has vowed to challenge President Nicolas Maduro’s narrow victory in the 14 April presidential poll in the Supreme Court. Mr Capriles announced on Thursday his movement would pull out of an audit of the vote, which he agreed on last week. He said the proposed conditions for the audit were unfair, calling the process a “joke”.
The opposition leader claims votes were “stolen” by Mr Maduro’s government. Mr Capriles said his movement would boycott the audit because the electoral authorities had not accepted his demand for voter signatures and fingerprints to be examined. The electoral council failed to meet his “deadline” of 25 April to issue details of the audit. “If we don’t have access to those notebooks, we’re not going to take part in an audit that would be a joke on Venezuelans and a joke on the world,” Mr Capriles told pro-opposition TV channel Globovision.
Mr Capriles says he will ask the Supreme Court to annul the election and allow Venezuelans to go back to the polls. Mr Maduro won the 14 April election by less than two percentage points. He was sworn in as president last week, succeeding his mentor Hugo Chavez, who died in March of cancer. Nine people died in post-election protests and both the government and opposition are planning more protests on 1 May. He says the vote was marred by thousands of irregularities, including voter intimidation, and has demanded a full recount.