The regional elections in Venezuela give Maduro a boost after the victory of Chavismo in the vast majority of states.
Maduro achieved what he hoped for, getting the participation of the Democratic Unity Table, winning electorally and then being able to give a democratic message to the rest of the world. Photo: Flickr-Photos Presidency
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: Nicolás Maduro feliz con aplastante victoria del chavismo
The opposition's participation in the Venezuelan elections returned. On November 21, the ruling party demonstrated its loyalty and won in 20 of the 23 governorates that were at stake. The opposition, divided, as usual, could only scratch 3 states and leave the Chavista party much stronger than before.
But, Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan president, is not only happy for the overwhelming victory of his movement, now the president has a card to play in the diplomatic context and press a relief in the economic sanctions suffered by his regime. After elections where the opposition (in part) recognized and decided to compete, and with the support of the European Union.
Precisely, Maduro achieved what he expected, to get the participation of the Democratic Unity Table, win electorally and then be able to give a democratic message to the rest of the world. However, Washington will not be easily convinced. The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinke, has already assured that the past elections "do not reflect the will of the people". But surely the regime will first seek the approval of the European Union or other less hostile organizations.
4 years since the opposition did not participate
Despite the participation of opposition parties for these votes, Leopoldo López, Juan Guaidó, and María Corina Machado, among others, rejected the participation of those estranged from the president. This also sent a mixed message to the followers, which could also influence the unfavorable results. Both López and Machado understand that giving Chavismo legitimacy strengthens the government and provides a democratic facade when previous elections have left serious doubts about transparency.
However, there is also a factor that excites the opposition. Despite having lost by a landslide, these elections have a distinctive factor that differentiates the presidential elections in which the diaspora cannot vote. With approximately 4 million Venezuelans abroad who mark a clear opposition trend, they can turn any electoral balance and boost opposition candidates. Additionally, within the 3 governorates won, are Nueva Esparta, Cojedes, and Zulia, the most populated in the country.
However, it was important that the MUD got back in the ring. Even if it is below the possibilities, but that he shows his teeth and understands that recent history has shown them that the best way (despite the disparity and lack of guarantees) to defeat Maduro is with the vote. It is true that previous elections have shown that Maduro refuses to let go of power and will be able to create any trick to castrate the power of the opposition (such as the Constituent Assembly that disabled the opposition National Assembly). But it is also true that he was never so weakened before when the pressure at the polls was greater.
Reasons why Chavismo triumphed
Chavismo won by four key points. First, for the cohesion of his followers. Despite internal struggles for endorsements within the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, its voters faithfully came out to support its candidates. Something that contrasts with the division of the MUD.
Second, by the electoral pattern. Today, the great opposition support is outside. 4 million Venezuelans living in exile represent a great rival for the Government. For this reason, the Chavistas are increasingly in local elections.
Third, despair of ordinary citizens. Venezuelans no longer live but survive in a country with political, economic, social, and many other crises. They are tired and this was seen in the high abstention rates, which reached 58%.
And although the National Electoral Council (with the participation of opposition representatives) highlighted that there were advances regarding balance, transparency, and free and secure voting compared to past elections, the complaints of irregularities that would favor the ruling party are still striking. cases of electoral violence, with 2 deaths that left the day.
Was it a bad idea for the opposition to participate?
Hoy, with the newspaper on Monday, any analyst could say that the opposition failed to play along with Maduro and must maintain the boycott of the regime. However, it had not been a strategy that brought solutions for years either. The lack of electoral contests has brought hopelessness to their bases and this was reflected in the elections. If opposition forces manage to maintain certain levels of transparency and the international community maintains vigilance, it is possible that for national elections, the results will be much better.