Socialist party wins regional elections in Venezuela

Photo: Ariana Cubillos -AP

 

For the first time in 15 years, Venezuela’s ruling socialist government allowed election observers into the country. Those observers concluded the elections were, at best, a mixed bag. Not surprisingly the socialists won most races thanks largely to the ways in which Maduro’s regime has tilted the playing field.

By HotAir – John Sexton

Nov 23, 2021

The government showed that by banning the most prominent and popular opposition leaders from running for office, dividing opposition parties, encouraging voter apathy and keeping a loyal minority dependent on government handouts, it can win elections without resorting to outright fraud – even with minimal popular support.

The ruling Socialist Party won at least 19 of Venezuela’s 23 governorships, as well as the majority of mayoral offices, despite presiding over a destroyed economy and having the support, polls show, of only about 15 percent of the people. One in five Venezuelans has fled the country under Mr. Maduro’s rule, and 95 percent of those who remain don’t earn enough to meet basic needs, according to a study by the country’s main universities.

The ruling party’s sweep was greatly aided by the divisions within the opposition. Some opposition leaders boycotted the vote, as most of them did in other recent elections. Those who chose to participate divided votes with factions that had made pacts with Mr. Maduro or adopted a softer line against the president to take advantage of the economic liberalization that he has allowed in recent years.

Despite the effort to appear less like a one-party dictatorship, there was plenty of evidence the government was essentially cheating. For one thing, state media in Venezuela doesn’t give equal coverage to opposition figures. For another, in a country where the government hands out food only to loyalists, failure to vote could result in going back on the Maduro diet.

Despite the effort to appear less like a one-party dictatorship, there was plenty of evidence the government was essentially cheating. For one thing, state media in Venezuela doesn’t give equal coverage to opposition figures. For another, in a country where the government hands out food only to loyalists, failure to vote could result in going back on the Maduro diet.

Another reason the socialists may have done so well is that years of serious deprivation has left people willing to accept any slight improvement in their conditions, no matter who delivers them.

“If they promise they can solve the water issue, for good, I will give them my vote,” said the 78-year-old street vendor, who wore a Santa Claus hat as he stood by his eyeglasses stand in the center of Caracas on Saturday.

A voter since age 18, Carusí remembers when elections meant progress. This year’s candidates, pro-government and opposition alike, focused campaign messaging on pledges to fix the failing infrastructure that has left most homes in Venezuela without a reliable supply of water. And all Carusí wants is to be able to shower more than once a week. “This is a hell, what we’re living in,” he said.

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