The presidential vote of April 14, 2013 in Venezuela begins. Venezuelans are to elect a successor to President Hugo Chávez. A total of 18,903,143 voters are registered to cast their ballots. They will choose among seven candidates: María Bolívar, Reina Sequera, Eusebio Méndez, Freddy Tabarquino, Henrique Capriles, Julio Mora and Nicolás Maduro.
From 3:00 am on Sunday people started to report that the reveille was sounded by pro-government supporters all around the capital city of Caracas. It still can be heard at this time on the streets of Caracas
Defense Minister Diego Molero cast his ballot at Universidad Nacional Abierta, in Caracas. "Everything is calm," he declared.
Defense Minister Diego Molero called for peace. He urged people not to be disturbed by rumors intended to tarnish the election day. "(I call upon) fascist groups to stop rumors because the armed forces are ready to act severely."
President of the National Electoral Council (CNE) Tibisay Lucena said that 100% of the voting tables were set up at 6:00 am and that currently 60% of the balloting tables are open.
President of the National Electoral Council Tibisay Lucena says that 86% of polling stations are open and operating.
The chief of the Armed Forces Strategic Operacional Command and of the military election protection operation Plan República, Major General Wilmer Barrientos, said that “everything is calm.”
The chief of the Armed Forces Strategic Operacional Command and of the military election protection operation Plan República, Major General Wilmer Barrientos, said that no incidents have been recorded on the Venezuelan border so far.
The chief of the Armed Forces Strategic Operacional Command and of the military election protection operation Plan República, Major General Wilmer Barrientos, said the armed forces are working the police corps nationwide, and that no irregular situations have been recorded so far.
Acting Venezuelan president and presidential candidate, Nicolás Maduro, posted on his Twitter account: "Go little commandos! Let us smash any turnout records with our mobilized democracy. The sovereign (people) will decide the course of Bolivar's homeland."
Opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles posted on his Twitter account: "At the crack of dawn in Venezuela... Let us cast our ballots! Hope, faith and courage!"
Venezuelan People's Ombudswoman Gabriela Ramírez: "Hopefully, we will exceed the turnout of October 7 (presidential vote)."
According to pro-government Zulia state governor Francisco Arias Cárdenas, the April 14 presidential election "will be an important reference for all the world. Democracy is exercised in Venezuela."
The largest polling center in Caracas (with 12,495 voters registered), in Andrés Bello high school, downtown Caracas, there is low voter turnout at this time. Two of the 23 polling stations faced electrical problems before the center was opened -a situation that was solved by public utility Corpoelec.
Monsignor Mario Moronta, the Bishop of San Cristóbal, in southwest Táchira state, urged people "to vote in the spirit of peace."
Presidential candidate María Bolívar has just cast her ballot at the polling center in San Vicente de Paul school, in northwestern Zulia state.
After a tour of several polling stations in Caracas, a number of voters complained that their vote was invalid. Voters have to wait for the screen of the balloting machine to display the picture of their selected candidate before pressing the "vote" key.
Vicente Díaz, a member of the board of the Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE), clarified that there is not a selected clothing code to vote, except for the use of any symbols of political parties. Mobile phones may not be used inside polling stations.
Foreign Minister Elías Jaua: Today's ballot "will give the revolution a democratic, peaceful way."
Opposition leader Leopoldo López thinks that the overwhelming, abusive government election campaign is not a pretext for abstention.
Comptroller General Adelina González noted to a smooth election. She had plans to meet with the directors of the office led by her at the head offices of the government campaign team, Unión Radio reported.
CNE director Sandra Oblitas reported that based on available data, 99% of polling stations have been set up.
According to CNE director Sandra Oblitas, "motorcyclists are working people. The complaints of noncompliance with regulations are been heard. No reports have been filed."
"We strongly recommend people to take part in the audits, which are public acts, after 6:00 in the afternoon," explained Henri Falcón, Lara state governor and leader of Simón Bolívar Command, the campaign team for the opposition candidate.
Opposition leader Andrés Velásquez regretted that the Bolívar state governor had used 60 local radio stations in an obligatory simultaneous broadcast for electioneering. With reporting by Elvia Gómez.