Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate for Venezuela’s presidency, has threatened to take action over disputed votes he claims were “stolen” by Nicolas Maduro’s government.
Henrique Capriles Radonski demanded details of an audit of the vote the electoral council says it will carry out.
He said the council had a “deadline” of Thursday, but did not specify what action he would take.
Nicolas Maduro won the April 14 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.
Henrique Capriles has threatened to take action over disputed votes he claims were “stolen” by Nicolas Maduro’s government
But the opposition cried foul, and tensions in the divided country have reached fever pitch, with the government accusing the opposition of fomenting coup attempts and the opposition accusing the government of “desperate lies”.
Nine people died in post-election protests and both the government and opposition are planning more protests on 1st of May.
Henrique Capriles says the vote was marred by thousands of irregularities, including voter intimidation, and has demanded a full recount.
The national electoral council (CNE) offered an electronic audit of the vote last week, to begin this week, but says Nicolas Maduro’s victory remains “irreversible”.
It has so far failed to give any details of the audit and on Wednesday Henrique Capriles said he would wait only until Thursday.
“We will not accept a joke audit,” Henrique Capriles said at a news conference.
“It’s time to get serious.”
Henrique Capriles repeated his accusations that Nicolas Maduro had manipulated poll results, telling a news conference: “The truth – and it is as big as our country is wide – is that you stole the election. That is the truth.
“You stole this electoral process, and you have to explain that to this country and to the world.”
The government, meanwhile, accuses the opposition of stirring up the post-election violence in a bid to engender a coup, and the government-controlled National Assembly has now announced a commission to investigate whether Henrique Capriles was responsible.
Pedro Carreno, who will head the commission, dubbed Henrique Capriles a “murderer” as he announced its formation – joining the National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello, who has called him a “fascist murderer”.
Prisons Minister Iris Varela, meanwhile, has said a jail cell awaits Henrique Capriles.
Media coverage of the post-election violence has been at odds, with state media describing pro-opposition mobs torching health clinics but opposition media saying many reports of the violence were fabricated.
Members of the Venezuelan opposition have made an official complaint against the government following allegations that it broke the law by continuing its electoral campaign on state television.
Venezuela’s acting President Nicolas Maduro appeared on TV visiting the tomb of Hugo Chavez on the eve of the election.
The opposition candidate Henrique Capriles said his opponent was “violating all the electoral norms”.
On Saturday, he launched an internet channel to broadcast his own campaign.
Despite this, Henrique Capriles said he had been “respecting the electoral rules, but those in power don’t know anything other than the abuse of power”.
Almost 19 million Venezuelans will have the right to vote on Sunday for a successor to Hugo Chavez.
Henrique Capriles has made an official complaint against Venezuela’s Acting President Nicolas Maduro for breaking the electoral law
Voting will be electronic – one machine will identify voters’ fingerprints, and a second will recognize identity card numbers and register the vote anonymously.
Polls will open at 06:30 local time and close 10 hours later, although they will stay open until all those queuing at closing time have voted.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez died on March 5, after a two-year long battle against an undisclosed type of cancer, prompting a short electoral campaign period before Sunday’s elections.
The winner is due to be sworn in on April 19 and serve until January 2019, to complete the six-year term that Hugo Chavez would have begun in January.
Hugo Chavez’s handpicked candidate Nicolas Maduro is seen as the front-runner, but recent polls said the gap between him and his rival, Henrique Capriles, was narrowing.
Both sides staged massive rallies to mark the official end of their campaigns on Thursday.
But since 2002, Hugo Chavez’ supporters have staged celebrations on April 13, the date when the late leader returned to power after a brief coup in 2002.
Venezuelan state television showed Nicolas Maduro visiting the tomb of the late leader, accompanied by the Argentine football star Diego Maradona, who also took part in Maduro’s final rally on Thursday.
“Let’s honor his [Hugo Chavez’s] memory, his legacy,” Nicolas Maduro told Venezuelans in a speech at the tomb.
An interview with the acting president about the short-lived 2002 coup was also broadcast.
On Friday, members of the opposition campaign said they had lodged an official complaint with the Electoral Commission.
Henrique Capriles also complained on Twitter, saying VTV was “shamelessly breaking the electoral rules”.
For his part, Nicolas Maduro said on the micro-blogging site that there was an alleged “dirty war” being plotted against him from Colombia’s capital, Bogota.