Revised as of April 15, 2013. Revision number 1.
The Venezuelan federal electoral system is very satisfactory as determined by the overall audit score of 78.83 percent (out of 100 percent). The FDA auditors measured
- one unsatisfactory passing score for legislation pertaining to electoral finance (52.5 percent);
- one very satisfactory score for legislation pertaining to candidates and parties (77.9%);
- two exceptional scores for legislation pertaining to media election coverage (100 percent) and voters (84.9 percent).
The FDA audit focused on 52 variables, and it utilized matrices, financial analysis, and scoring scales. The most notable areas of the system are Venezuela’s commitment to complete and balanced election coverage, thereby supporting a fair playing field for candidates and parties, and a commitment to people’s right to vote and the act of voting through various innovative and progressive measures. However, electoral finances of candidates and parties are only transparent to the state, and there are no direct caps on campaign contributions and no direct limits on expenditures. The lack of public financial transparency creates the potential for pro-government parties to pursue corrupt financial practices and leave anti-government parties subject to unjust assessments of their finances including targeting their contributors. The lack of caps and limits on electoral finances may create an unfair playing field in the realms of billboards, flyers, posters, and campaign events, because these media are not covered by the complete and balanced coverage requirement. The FDA has no evidence of electoral financial wrongdoing, as does no one else, because only the Venezuelan State through the National Electoral Council is privy to party finances. The FDA recommends reforms that will bring about public electoral finance transparency, caps on campaign contributions and limits on campaign expenditures. If implemented these reforms would make the Venezuelan electoral system a model for the rest of the world. As it stands, these limitations have the potential to allow for corrupt financial practices and create unfair playing fields for candidates and parties.
Overall the FDA recommends that the public get continuously and actively involved with the government legislative process and implementation if they want to protect and advance their democratic voice, and create a society of their choosing.