Published on : 22/11/2021 – 18:51
President Nicolas Maduro’s party, whose 2018 re-election to Venezuela’s presidency is unrecognized by part of the international community, won a landslide victory in Sunday’s regional elections, winning 20 of 23 gubernatorial positions and the Caracas Town Hall.
Chavist power comforted by the ballot box. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s party won a landslide victory in the regional elections on Sunday, November 21, securing 20 of 23 governor positions, as well as mayor of the capital, Caracas. These were the first elections with the participation of the opposition in four years.
“Beautiful triumph, beautiful victory, beautiful harvest, product of work”, immediately exulted President Maduro on television, speaking of “overwhelming results”.
State television speaks of the “historic victory of the Chavista revolution” (named after Hugo Chavez, figure of the Latin American radical left and late predecessor of Nicolas Maduro).
The divided opposition participated for the first time in a poll since 2017 after boycotting the presidential and legislative elections. Despite speeches calling for union, she failed to unite.
It won three states: the island of Nueva Esparta, Cojedes and especially Zulia, the most populous oil state in the country whose capital is Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second largest city.
“The map is mostly red (colors of power) as it was to be expected,” said political scientist Luis Vicente Leon, stressing that the “lamentable and absurd division of the opposition” cost him a “promised victory” in the state by Lara.
The participation rate rose to 41.8% with 8.1 million voters in this country of 30 million inhabitants affected by an unprecedented economic crisis and by hyper-inflation, according to the results announced in the evening by the National Electoral Council (CNE)
Before the announcement of the results, the opponent Henrique Capriles, twice second in the presidential election, had expressed reservations considering that the late closing of the polling stations was a source of possible fraud: “Maduro and his party order the CNE not to close the offices when there are no more voters (…) They will give us votes that do not exist, “he wrote on Twitter.
Caracas increases concessions to the international community
The European Union had deployed an electoral mission, the first in 15 years. The mission will report on Tuesday.
Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino assured in a televised statement in the early evening that the day was spent in “peace”.
One person was shot dead near a polling center in San Francisco (Zulia, west). The Interior Minister promised an investigation, assuring that it was not in connection with the election.
More than the result, the ballot is considered important because it constitutes a starting point both for the power which seeks to lift the sanctions which weigh on the country and for an opposition seeking to rebuild itself before the presidential election of 2024 .
Facing economic sanctions, especially from the United States who want to oust Maduro from power, Caracas wants to loosen the grip and wanted this election to be proof of its legitimacy.
Objective of Caracas of which part of the funds abroad are frozen: “to raise at least partially the sanctions, in particular those on oil”, estimates Oswaldo Ramirez, consultant.
Maduro had thus made several concessions to give pledges to the international community, reforming the CNE to include the opposition or inviting foreign observation missions (EU, UN, Carter Foundation).
The opposition divided and devoid of the hoped-for dynamic
For its part, after boycotting the 2018 presidential election and the 2020 legislative elections, the divided opposition has finally decided to vote, hoping that it will allow it to boost a positive dynamic in view of the 2024 presidential election. .
Juan Guaido, without power but recognized as acting president by about 50 countries, believes that “there is certainty, Maduro is and will continue to be illegitimate.”
“2021 begins on January 1, 2022”, had recalled before the poll an opponent, regretting the division.
“There is no possibility of fraud with the machines”, had underlined an electoral specialist of the opposition before the poll, “but there can be coercion, persecution, motivation (buying votes , service etc …), unequal access to the media “.