CARACAS – Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz announced on Wednesday the opening of an investigation into the alleged manipulation of results from the July 30 Constituent Assembly election, involving four directors of the National Electoral Council (CNE).
“I have appointed two prosecutors to investigate the four directors of the National Electoral Council for this very scandalous act,” Ortega said in an interview with CNN, after the company responsible for the election’s voting system reported that the voter turnout data was “tampered with.”
“We are also evaluating to go to international organizations, once we are facing possible crimes against humanity,” the prosecutor added.
According to the CNE, a total of 8,089,320 people or 41.53 percent of the electorate participated in the election, on a day marked by protests and the deaths of at least 10 people during riots.
However, Antonio Mugica, CEO of Smartmatic, the company that installed around 24,000 electronic voting machines in Venezuela, said on Wednesday that the official figures significantly overestimate the number of citizens who actually went to the polls.
“We estimate the difference between the actual participation and the one announced by authorities is at least one million votes,” Mugica said.
Ortega said authorities must take action to address the allegations, which she said represents “one more element of the fraudulent, illegal and unconstitutional process” of the Constituent Assembly.
The head of the public ministry also requested a new audit with “national and international experts, but without the CNE directors because they are the first suspects.”
Ortega has been one of the most critical voices of the Constituent Assembly election, branding it a “dictatorial ambition” of pro-government groups.
She said the assembly should be “convened by the people” and not by President Nicolas Maduro.
“I have to give this country security, because this Constituent Assembly has infinite powers,” Ortega said, stressing that the assembly, due to be inaugurated on Friday, “will be a body with superpowers.”
The opposition refused to take part in the Constituent Assembly election, considering it to be “fraudulent.”
The election was held amid ongoing political and social upheaval in the country, where at least 121 people have been killed during anti-government protests that began on April 1.