CARACAS -- Venezuela's Electoral Board, the CNE, has announced that votes that go for the “Unidad Democratica” party (circled), which is the first picture of Henrique Capriles Radonski on the ballot, will go to a little known candidate named Reina Sequera and not candidate Capriles, who is pictured.
Sequera is campaigning on a platform offering each Venezuelan $1 million of the country's oil wealth.
While the Opposition coalition is called the “Mesa de Unidad Demócratica”, the small unknown party "Unidad Democratica" switched their allegiance to Sequera after the ballots had been printed with Capriles' picture.
"The Electoral Board should have never allowed this change in the interests of fairness and democratic values," said Venezuela commentator Miguel Octavio. "Except clearly, they are a bunch of hoodlums and have no scruples."
In addition, votes received in 4 other boxes would be considered null and discarded. Those for Yoel Acosta Chirinos of Vanguardia Bicentenaria Republicana, and Manos por Venezuela (which has a picture of Capriles), Piedra (which has a picture of Capriles) and Cambio Pana (which also has a picture of Capriles), would be considered void and will not count.
The CNE's Director of Electoral Information, Luis Piedras, said that the CNE will send the changes to the polling stations, where they will placed on the wall for voters to read.
Others commentators have pointed out that while President Hugo Chavez seems to have a professional headshot on the ballot, the pictures of all the other candidates look like mug shots, and that of Capriles looks especially colorless while also appearing to have a shadow across half his face.